Oracle, Google suit: Details of Google’s first phone released
By Hayley Tsukayama,
Details of the first prototype Google phone surfaced in court Wednesday in the trial over whether Google improperly used Oracle’s Java programming language to build Android.
The original prototype featured a full keyboard, small landscape screen, 2 MP camera and a miniSD card for storage.
Google pitched the phone to T-Mobile in 2006, according to a report from Slashgear, and had even had plans to subsidize the cost of customers’ unlimited data plans to give them service for $9.99 per month.
The result looked something like a BlackBerry or the “Facebook phone,” the HTC Status, which has a full keyboard and small touchscreen, though with only 64 MB of RAM and a much worse display.
The prototype’s specs may look anemic now, but would have been impressive in 2006. T-Mobile later became the first carrier for the original Android phone, the G1, in 2008.
Oracle’s case suffered a setback Wednesday when judge William Alsup ruled that the company could not add a third patent to the case.
Originally, Oracle had filed suit over seven patents, five of which were thrown out ahead of the trial by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Oracle appealed those decisions, and one patent was reinstated after the trial began. The company had argued that because the trial is being considered in three stages — copyright, patent and to assess damages — it should be able to submit the third patent.
“Oracle’s argument that the patent ‘trial’ has not yet started is wrong. The was and is one trial with three phases,” Alsup wrote, according to Ars Technica. “The trial started on April 16.”
The trial has already seen testimony from tech heavyweights including Google chief executive Larry Page, Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison.
On Wednesday, Oracle lawyers also called Android head Andy Rubin to the stand, where he said that Android’s developers didn’t believe they needed a license from Sun Microsystems to work on the mobile operating system, CNET reported. Rubin said that the first time he’d heard of any violation of Java’s programming tools was at the start of this lawsuit, and that because Android is open source it was available for anyone to examine before its release.
Oracle’s lawyer then asked Rubin to name any other company that uses the free Apache Harmony Java implementation for commercial purposes. CNET reported that apart from a non-profit group, the Apache Software Foundation, Rubin he could not name one.
Oracle is seeking around $1 billion in damages in the case.