Google's first Android phone prototype was a BlackBerry look-alike

There is no shortage of phones that look like clones of each other in the market today and it appears it wasn’t the case with Google either. The recent Google-Oracle tussle in court over the Java controversy, has released more information about one of the earliest phones from Google, way before the Android powered T-Mobile G1 launched, back in 2008. A news story by The Verge, shows this early prototype had a QWERTY device and a landscape layout screen on the top, almost identical to the design of a BlackBerry phone. Here are some details on the hardware in this early prototype. 

Several similarities with BlackBerry handsets

Several similarities with BlackBerry handsets



The phone was supposed to be powered by an ARMv9 class processor running at a speed of at least, 200MHz with 64MB of RAM and ROM. Of course, GSM was present and 3G support was likely as well. The phone was said to have a 2 MP camera and a QVGA screen - with a resolution of 320x240. Unlike pretty much every Android phone in the market today, Google hadn’t planned on using a touchscreen on that device. It would however have two touch sensitive buttons. Of course, there was the option of installing a hardware keyboard, Wi-Fi and GPS support. Back at that time, Texas Instrument’s OMAP850 was the SoC to be considered. This is roughly the period when Windows Mobile 5 devices were being sold in the market and a 200MHz processor was a norm. Google’s prototype too was planned around this period, in 2006.


Google was working on a device based around three main form factors. Work was on in full speed in 2006, on the key aspects of the device and also the software. The home screen, the phone dialer, messaging and contact apps were high priority and these were worked upon first. Soon after, work began on the WebKit powered browser as well as Google Talk app, Gmail, Calendar as well as POP e-mail support. All this happened in a timeframe of a year and a half, after which T-Mobile along with Google launched the first ever functional Android device - the G1.

Published Date: Apr 27, 2012 09:14 am | Updated Date: Apr 27, 2012 09:14 am