The Day Google Had to 'Start Over' on Android
J Thoendell stashed this in Tech
Tucked in a first-floor corner of Google’s Building 44, surrounded by Google ad reps, its four dozen engineers thought that they were on track to deliver a revolutionary device that would change the mobile phone industry forever.
By January 2007, they’d all worked sixty-to-eighty-hour weeks for fifteen months—some for more than two years—writing and testing code, negotiating software licenses, and flying all over the world to find the right parts, suppliers, and manufacturers. They had been working with prototypes for six months and had planned a launch by the end of the year . . . until Jobs took the stage to unveil the iPhone.
Chris DeSalvo’s reaction to the iPhone was immediate and visceral. “As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately. But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’”
A lot was wrong with the first iPhone too:
Rubin and the Android team — along with many others — did not think users would take to typing on a screen without the tactile feedback of a physical keyboard. That is why the first Android phone — the T-Mobile G1 from HTC, nearly two years later — had a slide-out keyboard. But what was also undeniable to the Android team was that they had underestimated Jobs. At the very least, Jobs had come up with a new way of interacting with a device— with a finger instead of a stylus or dedicated buttons — and likely a lot more.
It all seems so clear in retrospect but it really was world changing when the iPhone came out.