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The Day Google Had to 'Start Over' on Android


The Day Google Had to Start Over on Android Fred Vogelstein The Atlantic

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/ar...

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.’”

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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.

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