Which Came First: iPhone or Android?

Did the iPhone really come first, meaning Android ripped Apple off? Or did Android come first? Is it possible that both companies independently arrived at the idea for a touchscreen smartphone around the same time?

Lately, I’ve been a little… obsessed… with these questions. Apple fans are convinced iPhone came first. Android fans are convinced their open-source smartphone OS came first.

Who’s right?

I decided it was time to find out, once and for all. So I started digging. I searched and researched and then I searched some more. And in the end, I found that the history of the iPhone and the history of Android are a lot more complex than you may realize.

It occurred to me that the best way for our readers to get their heads around this issue was to present it visually, as a timeline that shows you, point-by-point, exactly who did what, when. With the help of our sister site Infographic Labs, we put together the following infographic. Our intention here is not to point fingers or cast blame — or even to draw conclusions, despite the fact that we’re an Apple-centric website. We created it to try and clarify this very muddy issue, so you can see the facts neatly and clearly, and draw your own conclusions.

Click on the image for the full-size version.

About Robin Parrish

Unathletic, uncoordinated tall man with endless creativity stampeding through his overactive brain. Comes with beard, wife, and two miniature humans. Novelist. General blogger and main Gaming Geek for ForeverGeek. Lead Blogger, Apple Gazette.

Comments

  1. anon the mouse says:

    Who came up with the idea of a touchscreen smartphone first?
    Neither of those companies, sorry.

    2002 saw the release of the HTC Wallaby. 3.5″ touchscreen, able to download and install apps (admittedly no marketplace). Running Windows PocketPC 2002 Phone edition.

    Your comment about Steve Jobs in 2002 would imply that he saw one of these phones and then spent years working on getting the iPod into one. And improving the user experience by a huge order of magnitude

    • Joel Hug says:

      Actually, anon the mouse, it was Handspring. I was using my Handspring Visor with attached phone module as my first touchscreen smartphone way before this. I then moved up to the HTC (TMobile Pocket PC Phone Edition) after that. Both good devices, but nothing compared to my iPhone 4S now.

      • Just like the new HTC phones like the One X is better than the iPhone 4s. Each generation brings better products.

        • This is why HTC One series is one of HTC’s worst selling phones and causing them to fall off charts against Samsung for Android Market domination? Sorry, get your buggy ass phone out of here.

    • Being a touchscreen device isn’t the reason the iPhone became so popular. Touch screen devices have been around for ages. It was the multi-touch technology of ignoring spurious inputs, and the various gestures, and the software to gleen that information from the touch screen is what the big deal was.

  2. Kiljoy616 says:

    The real question is who cares any more. I for one don’t care since I have yet to see one Android or WP7 phone I want to buy. This stuff is so old now and what really matters is Apple with Steve came up with something a lot of people want to have so they got it right. That now we have 100 different android phones or whom was the first put think up a touch device like a phone, well that I admit is anecdote at best.

    • Since I left the iPhone I have only been happier with Android offerings. Don’t think I will be coming back to iOS.

      The LG Prada was the first fully touch smartphone I can think of. The iPhone came after that.

  3. Very Informative. But question is “who revolutionize the mobile phone industry”? The OS or the OS+hardware?

  4. My HTC EVO LTE is the best phone I have ever owned or laid eyes upon

  5. First off, iphone sux. Android does so much more and is easier to use. One reason why iphone is above android is because android made a foolish move by offering only one carrier their newest products. The iphone was more exposed to more people and as history shows human beings are nothing but mindless followers, so the more they see it the more they want it. If Android started offering their products to all carriers you would see a huge rise in android users. Remember, that android has phones that well top off any iphone, look it up. Example: HTC One X+. I would never buy an iphone even if they were the last phone available. I am not a follower. I choose what is actually the best compared to most by choosing what my friends have.

    • I am not a follower.

      Then why are you reading this blog?

    • lmao @ andoids being more intuitive. my 4-year-old nephews and my 60+ year old parents figured out how to use an iphone in a matter of minutes — cannot say the same with an android. Can android do more? Arguably yes if you discount jailbreaking, but come one — it’s a cell phone. Every smart phone can call, text, email, browse the web, play games, music, books — what else do you really need? The only difference in the hundreds of phones out there are moderate upgrades in speed and screen size, and if you can really tell the difference then you should look into getting a life. The average desktop 10 years ago couldn’t hold up with the average smart phone today — and somehow people still feel the need to bicker about specs. The fact that you obsess over petty details suggests that you probably spend more time trying to play video games or stream high def porn than you spend working, studying, or doing something constructive — go get a job and stop whining. Also, the title of the article was which came first, not which one is better — perhaps your sentiments might be taken more seriously in a fanboy forum.

      • Well actually, he was referencing to the previous comments above ours. And your nephew as well as your parents don’t speak for the general human population; generally, androids are more user based friendly. And just to add, even with jailbreaking, android still can do more considering we can just root our phone and gain more capabilities. And to say that the only reason him, or me, and others may know detailed specs or care is because we ” probably spend more time trying to play video games or stream high def porn than you spend working, studying, or doing something constructive” is actually pretty unintelligent for you to say. You do realize, that maybe we take interest into technological innovations, and their functions along how they function and perhaps may want to take a career that go into those areas.

  6. Edwin Trejo says:

    I am very sorry has Android has just had the most stable update release 4.2.1 and it is awesome, android developers had you thought of IDEAS you haven’t for example NFG and BEAM they are forms of sending files which ios might never know about. I can make and android look like an iPhone can you make an iPhone look like an android. Just root your android and install all different android versions there are for different devices.

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