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Android in 2006 could have had $10 data plans, no touch

updated 03:30 pm EDT, Wed April 25, 2012

Google had not accounted for touch pre-iPhone

A series of slides during the trial for Oracle's lawsuit against Google has revealed a very different vision to The Verge of how Android was originally to work as well as some of the problems Google has had since. In 2006, the original concept rendering was substantially different from the 2007-era QWERTY prototype as well as the touch phones that would come to dominate Android. With no mention of touchscreens in the initial plans, they suggest that Google hadn't significantly considered a touch interface for Android until the iPhone popularized the concept in 2007.

The search firm had gone so far as to suggest it might have subsidized T-Mobile's data plans to drive early adoption. Similar to what Google is doing now for Chrome OS, T-Mobile would have only charged subscribers $10 per month, with Google paying for some use on the assumption that its services would use a then-realistic 15MB per month. Some of that would have come from Google wielding its online clout to steer customers to T-Mobile, allegedly saving the carrier a total of $180. About $120 of this would have gone to discounting the data access.

Data from much later, in July 2010, also underscored that Android users' unwillingness to pay for apps was a problem. Even expecting Android's phone user base to double from 20 million to 40 million, Google expected to make $158.9 million on mobile ads for Android users and just $3.8 million on apps. The problem was only predicted to get worse by 2012, with $840.2 million coming from ads and $35.9 million from paid downloads.

Mobile VP Andy Rubin had admitted that a "low rate of app purchases [and] policy issues" were problems. At the same time, he had forecast Google's entries into content, such as books, music, and video, would net $1.5 billion a year by 2012. Tips have hinted that Google Play Music is faring poorly, and it's known that the sister book and movie stores are much smaller than competition from Apple or Amazon.

Also in 2010, when Android wasn't yet the largest mobile platform, Google was making much more revenue from Apple. iOS at the time was generating a $281 million yearly run rate, while Android was only netting $120 million.

The information was being collected at trial to help Oracle gauge how much Google may have profited from Android, and thus how much it stood to collect if it received royalties. Google doesn't make money from Android licenses and instead has depended mostly on ad revenue.

2006 concept at top; 2007 prototype at bottom

by MacNN Staff



  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No Surprise

    It's not really a surprise to anyone who was paying attention, but it's nice to see internal confirmation that Google really didn't have the current vision for Android until Apple came out with the iPhone. At which point the focus changed from copying RIM to copying Apple.

    It's actually a little surprising to me that Apple was the first big player to push the all-screen smartphone idea. It seems kind of obvious, and there were at least concepts using it, but nobody even did a concept phone that way until post-iPhone.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not the future roadmap taken

    This seems somewhat of a vindication of Apple & Jobs when they stated that Google basically ripped off their popular iPhone...never forgetting that at the time the fox Schmidt was in the Apple board's henhouse.


  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So stupid

    Google already had most if not all ad revenues from iPhones and was sitting pretty. Then, Google got greedy and wanted more. They decided to bootleg the iPhone and in the process stole Java. Now, these brain surgeons and their "partners" find themselves up to their neck in patent infringement suits. They were in such weak position to defend themselves that Google had to purchase Motorola for over $12B.

    So, $12B, shattered relationship with Apple and their loyal fans, countless lawsuits pending (and probably much more coming) for what??? $840.2M in ad revenue??? These morons deserve what's coming to them.

  1. chas_m




    Never forget it. Steve was right. Android is stolen.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And I bet if you look at the iPhone documents early on they looked nothing like the iPhone that was released.

    Or don't you recall the story of how the iPhone was made, and that Steve killed the whole thing and told them to go back to the drawing board because it wasn't what he thought it could be.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And if you looked at the roadmap and design plans for OS X from 1995 through 2000 (called Rhapsody back then), you would notice it looked nothing like it did when they finally released it. It went through tons of redesign and rethought.

    But why quibble. We have a doc here from before touchscreens were even cheaply available that showed they weren't thinking touchscreens, so that is proof!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Like a bunch of children.

    It's MY idea! It's MY idea!
    I did it FIRST! I did it FIRST!
    COPY CAT, COPY CAT sitting on the doormat!
    They're MY toys, all mine! ALL MINE!
    Get your own sandbox!
    Stop copying me! WHAAAAAAAA! Stop copying me!


    Oh poor baby, I'll call the USTPO on the bad, bad boy!

    Let's not forget all the copying and stealing that Stevie-Boi has done throughout the ages...

    But that's ok with the iFans.

  1. facebook_Ethan

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2012


    comment title

    It was obvious to others, but companies were afraid to bring the concept to market. Each one of them looked around and saw everyone else with keyboards in the "bottom 40" and said "that must be what people want, so let's keep doing that". Apple was the one to strike out and put touch in the forefront, which was actually what people wanted, but didn't know it yet.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Arne_Saknussemm

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I have an HTC Windows Mobile phone with NO KEYBOARD
    and guess what it's dated something like 3 years before the iPhone.

    Even before that around 1997 you could get a couple Palm devices with phones and no keyboards.

  1. LMGS

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple isn't always first

    But they are the best...

    There were mp3 players before the iPod, but after the success of the iPod everyone started trying to copy them..

    Same thing with phones.. But just as MS tried to copy the Mac OS, and failed, the people trying to copy the iPhone are also failing.. It's not about the hardware or the software, but about the way it all works so well together...

    Google and MS will never figure it out...

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