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Android didn’t have Touch Input before the iPhone – Apple v Samsung 2014 Patent Wars

April 14, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

This isn’t really news, but continuing in the trial between the two tech giants Samsung and Apple, a new document was shown off today which shows that Android did not support touch input until after the iPhone was announced in 2008. Now we already knew this, and considering these documents were from 2006, a lot could have changed between then and when Apple announced the iPhone in 2008. According to the slides “Touchscreens will not be supported. The product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the products [SIC] architecture that prevents the support of touchscreens in the future.”

Remember that at this time, Android was built on Linux 2.6, and Linux 2.6 didn’t support touchscreens at that time either. Which is a huge reason why Android was built to use physical buttons, similar to what you saw on the Blackberries from 2006-2009 (and even before that). But eventually the support was there and Android moved to touch screens with 4 capacitve buttons and now no capacitive buttons at all. These documents were shown to hardware partners in 2006, confidentially of course.

As we now know, the G1 was the first Android phone – for those of you outside the US the HTC Dream – which did both touch and physical buttons. Then the T-Mobile myTouch 3G got rid of the physical keyboard, and well you know the rest. Looking back at these slides, man Android has come a long way in a short time. It used to look so ugly. Can you believe that the T-Mobile G1 launched without a lockscreen?

So what does this show us? Well that Apple isn’t just going after Samsung, but after the entire Android ecosystem. Because these documents really have nothing to do with Samsung, but more to do with Google. This is going to get crazy, and fast. Be sure to keep it locked here, while we follow the entire trial between Apple and Samsung.