Before the iPhone Launched, Android Didn't Support Touchscreens

Illustration for article titled Before the iPhone Launched, Android Didn't Support Touchscreens

It's virtually impossible to imagine now, but back when the iPhone was launched in 2007, Google wasn't planning to make Android for touchscreen devices.


Revealed in court documents that form part of the current Apple-Samsung legal argument, a Google report explains that Android "was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the product's architecture that prevents the support of touchscreen in the future."

Elsewhere, the document details many of the features of Android which endure—removable storage, third-party application support, widgets, notifications and all the various Google services—but the thinking was that physical buttons would do just fine. But then, the iPhone appeared, and touchscreens didn't just need to be supported; multi-touch became a requirement. Thank goodness. [Scribd via Recode]

Image by Masahiko Futami under Creative Commons license


As much as Apple haters' heads would explode to admit this, the fact is that there weren't any consumer devices that had done touchscreens well until the iPhone. Well, I suppose an argument can be made for the Nintendo DS, but even that one required a stylus. The iPhone really was a true revolution.

That said, there are times when it seems like everything other than the touchscreen was a happy accident for the iPhone. IIRC, iOS was originally not even meant to support third party applications until the iPhone 3G.