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Google Once Felt That Touchscreens Couldn’t Replace Physical Buttons

by Brandon Russell | April 26, 2012April 26, 2012 7:00 am PDT

Quick, someone show this to Google’s Matias Duarte. Information gleaned from a 2007 Android specification document reveals that Google previously felt “a touchscreen cannot completely replace physical buttons.” Au contraire, Google, and quite the opposite of how Android 4.0 has been designed and implemented on today’s devices — such as the Galaxy Nexus.

Here, in full, is Google’s 2007 vision of the smartphone landscape, even several months after the iPhone was announced:

3.11.2 Touchscreen

Touchscreens will be supported. However, the Product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption, therefore a touchscreen cannot completely replace physical buttons.

Adding more credence to the search giant’s preference to buttons were renders of its BlackBerry-like “Google Phone,” which the company reportedly shopped around to carriers as early as 2006. And, in fact, the first version of Android to run on the T-Mobile G1 didn’t even have a soft keyboard.

It’s interesting to read Google’s early Android specs because it reveals how much the company’s ideas have transformed since 2007. Just imagine where Android might be if Google followed Research In Motion’s button-centric lead. Yikes.

[via The Verge]

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...