Present Google intern (and future Windows Phone intern) Andrew Munn did us lay people a favor today when he revealed some insights into why Android phones are laggy (spoiler alert: bad engineering decisions).
But what’s interesting is that it also gives (still) more confirmation that Android was a copycat effort:
Work on Android started before the release of the iPhone, and at the time Android was designed to be a competitor to the Blackberry.
Translation: we started by aiming to copy BlackBerry.
The original Android prototype wasn’t a touch screen device. Android’s rendering trade-offs make sense for a keyboard and trackball device. When the iPhone came out, the Android team rushed to release a competitor product, but unfortunately it was too late to rewrite the UI framework.
Translation: we pivoted from copying the BlackBerry to copying the iPhone.
The Android team was founded by people who worked on the Danger Sidekick, so they already had messaging platform roots, and they were joined by some engineers who’d worked on BeOS and Palm OS 6, later named Cobalt, at PalmSource. There’s a lot of mobile OS heritage there beyond just copying… the genius of iOS was that it took a desktop OS and both shrunk the OS and improved the hardware enough to find a sweet spot. Plus, it focused on web first (no App Store in 1.0!) and it was a genuinely new thing at a time when the mobile world seemed to be prematurely optimizing itself.