Codenamed “Sooner”, it was the world’s first Android phone but you may never have seen this Android phone. And that’s down to the first Apple iPhone.
With a physical keyboard and small non-touch screen, this device also had navigation keys. It’s been described as a messenger-style phone in the style of Blackberry. But it never launched to market, thanks to Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone in 2007.
Blown away by the iPhone
“As a consumer I was blown away. I wanted one immediately,” is how Google engineer Chris DeSalvo reaction to the iPhone. “But as a Google engineer, I thought “We’re going to have to start over”.
And it was a tough pill to swallow because the Google Android team had been working on its device for two years, according to a report by The Atlantic news site. Even though the Sooner phone was said to have more advanced features than the iPhone, it no longer fitted the bill.
The HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) – the first Android phone to be shipped
The iPhone touchscreen and size opened up a new world of applications and features, with the physical keyboard done away with. It also looked cool, pressures which led to a major rethink by the Android team. The focus switched to the Dream, another prototype phone.
The touchscreen was there, but so was a slide-out keyboard, such was the view that users would still want a physical keyboard. Phone manufacturer HTC announced the Dream in September 2008 with release pencilled in for a month later.
The future – Project Ara
Fancy creating your own mobile phone with modular features? That’s the goal of Google’s Project Ara. You can read all about it by clicking here.
It will also be interesting to see how the Apple Watch will perform against Android Wear smartwatches.