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Top Android Executive Says Google Didn't Copy Apple's iPhone

Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer tells the Apple-Samsung jury that Android was looking to build its own identity.


A top Android executive testified on Friday that Google did not look to copy the iPhone when it designed Android.

“We like to have our own identity,” Android engineering VP Hiroshi Lockheimer said, testifying in an Apple-Samsung lawsuit currently before a jury in San Jose, Calif.

Lockheimer testified that he first saw a demo of Android work in January 2006 and was “blown away” and decided to join Google and work on the project that April. At the time, he said, there were only 20 or 30 people working on the software. The first Android phone came out in 2008, with only about 70 people at Google working on the operating system.

“Very intentionally, we kept the team very small,” Lockheimer said.

Lockheimer testified that Android, too, was the product of long hours and hard work.

“The hours were pretty grueling,” Lockheimer said, speaking of the early days of Android as the operating system was being developed in 2006 and 2007. “They continue to be grueling, by the way. … We work really hard.”

Earlier in this case, as in the prior Apple-Samsung case, jurors heard details of the early development of the iPhone and the painstaking work that went into its creation. Soon-to-be-retiring Apple designer Greg Christie testified about various aspects of the iPhone development, including the “slide-to-unlock” feature that is the subject of one of the five Apple patents at issue in this case.

Lockheimer was Samsung’s first witness as it began its defense case. Samsung is arguing that it did not infringe on the five Apple patents and that the patents themselves are also invalid.

Earlier in the day, Apple wrapped up its case with the final testimony from damages expert Chris Vellturo. Vellturo argued that Apple is entitled to more than $2 billion in damages for Samsung’s infringement of five Apple patents.

Update: In testifying about Android’s early days, Lockheimer noted that plans for background synchronization were always a part of Android.

One thing that was not initially contemplated for the first Android device–at least initially–was any sort of touchscreen.

“Touchscreens will not be supported,” Google said in a 2006 specification for Android devices. “The product was designed with the presence of discrete physical buttons as an assumption. However, there is nothing fundamental in the products architecture that prevents the support of touch screens in the future.”

Obviously, Google later changed course and a touchscreen became mandatory. Lockheimer said the vision evolved as the company learned what it heard screen manufacturers tell it what was coming down the pipeline.

This article originally appeared on

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