A strange set of circumstances involving Apple, Meta, Google and Business Insider led to the reveal of what could have been the first Android smartphone last week.
The story goes like this: Business Insider published an opinion piece by Samantha Delouya comparing the release of the Metaverse to Google’s Android development. The article makes the connection by speculating that Meta is criticizing Google’s playbook to dethrone Apple as king of consumer data in the same way that Android overtook the iPhone as the top smartphone brand. But, according to Delouya, Meta is wrong about everything. And the launch of the Metaverse is a boondoggle that threatens to bring down the empire Mark Zukerberg has been building for nearly two decades.
The article drew the ire of Android co-founder Rich Miner, who took to Twitter to correct some factual inaccuracies. in a tweet thread, pointed out that Google did not create Android but was acquired by the company to combat Apple’s control over the emerging market. As part of debunking him, he claimed that Android always worked on two phones, Dream and Sooner. The Dream would become the Google G1 (also known as the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1), and Sooner was cancelled.
Miner tweeted an image of a rendering of the discarded Sooner smartphone. He claimed that it was going to be more like a Blackberry and that it was made months before Apple released the iPhone, countering a claim in the Well-informed person article that the original Android phone was redesigned to compete with the iPhone.
All the time we were working on 2 phones, Sooner, more similar to Blackberry and Dream, based on touch screen. After the iPhone launch, we canceled Sooner to focus on Dream (finally the Google G1), but its design changed little from this rendering made 5 months before the iPhone launch. pic.twitter.com/lC8m0WolgE
– Rich Miner (@richminer) October 31, 2022
The would-be Android first featured a sliding touchscreen over a physical green QWERTY keyboard, four buttons on the chassis, and a scroll wheel.
It’s impossible to know what the world of smartphones would be like today if the Sooner had come to life instead of the Dream. However, it is an interesting piece of technology that we were not aware of before. And how the reveal came about is also fascinating to those of us who love both history and technology.
Sources: Business Insider, android authority