Google’s Reaction to the iPhone’s Launch: We’re Doing It Wrong!


Steve jobs holding iphone 640x480

The introduction of the iPhone back in 2007 was not only a breakthrough moment for Apple, but it also messed up Google’s two-year-old Android project, according to The Atlantic.

The search giant had been focusing on a project that aimed to bring a cure to the dysfunctional software industry for mobile phones. Everyone knew that Apple was working on a phone, but as the Google team advanced with the software, everything seemed to be on the right track.

Until Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone on January 9, 2007.

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.’”

On the day Jobs announced the iPhone, the director of the Android team, Andy Rubin, was six hundred miles away in Las Vegas, on his way to a meeting with one of the myriad handset makers and carriers that descend on the city for the Consumer Electronics Show. He reacted exactly as DeSalvo predicted. Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast.

“Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”

That was the moment when the whole Google project “looked so nineties.” While the phone, code-named Sooner, was allegedly more revolutionary than the iPhone, it was ugly. By contrast, the iPhone looked cool.

This triggered Andy Rubin and the Android team to rethink their strategy and bring forward another project, a phone with a touchscreen, code-named “Dream,” that was in the early stages of development.

The rest is history.


  • Kelvin

    And they were so out of ideas so end up copying the iPhone.

  • Ken

    I really admire what Apple has done, or what Steve Jobs had started. Not so much on the actual device because the idea of using a phone as PDA or media player is not new at all. But rather the entire delivery of the solution. e.g the seamless integration with the Internet, or the App Store. Like they say, “It just works”.

  • Jh

    Anyone know what the original google idea was like?

  • KelvinDoesn’tKnow

    You my friend don’t wanna start this… in the end, Apple doesn’t win.

  • adam

    think flip phone, except it would open autonomously by its self when it senses a text or call!! recall would of happened when things sprang in there picket though !!!

  • iFone

    It looked like a Nokia E61. Useful, but boring sh!t. Same of the old stuff.

  • MattEgansHairLine

    Yes, a POS Blackberry knock-off.