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Google Phone: the 2006 concept that never saw the light of day

Android might have officially taken physical form in 2008 with the launch of the T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream, but this concept penned by designers at Google from 2006, shows where the roots of the platform really started.

The Verge caught ahold of these shots, unearthed in the midst of Google and Oracle’s current legal battle. Word has it, the Google Phone was expected to run a modest 200MHz (minimum), offer GSM connectivity (although, ideally 3G), 64MB of ROM and RAM, a miniSD card slot, a 2MP camera with a hard shutter key, Bluetooth 1.2 and at least a 16-bit colour display with QVGA resolution.

Google Phone Concept 2006

You’ll notice in that there was no mention of touchscreen technology and truth be told, the base level constraints of Android at the time didn’t necessitate a touchscreen at all, in fact all that was required were two small soft keys.

The company pitched to T-Mobile that “basic phone user interfaces and the ability to integrate as a 3rd party are still a barrier,” and as such the Google Phone, twinned with T-Mobile US’s then unlimited data plan would be the perfect recipe to entice consumers to their new platform. T-Mobile was expected to provide the SIM and would receive the bill each month, Google was to provide the hardware and some “integrated services”, at the time making no mention of apps, at least not in the capacity they are recognised nowadays with the Google Play Store.

This portrait QWERTY concept, with its lack of touchscreen and next to non-existent app marketplace, is so far removed from what has now evolved into a major mobile player that it truly puts into perspective how far Google and Android have come.

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