Monday, August 22, 2011

Who Copied From Whom? The Sony Ericsson P800 Touchscreen Smartphone Led the Trend in Designs that Paved the Way to the iPhone and the Galaxy S

Who Copied from Whom?

Let us take a look at the basic dimensional specs of three smartphones, especially their basic design and see who copied from whom.

Smartphones (PDAs) with Digital Camera

Smartphone Specifications (Specs)

Sony Ericsson P800 ..... Apple iPhone ....... Samsung Galaxy S

Intro.     2002               2008                     2010

Display   Large               Super large            Super large
Form      Flat rectangle    Flat rectangle         Flat rectangle
Bezel     Rounded edges  Rounded edges       Rounded edges 
Height    4.6 inches          4.5 inches             4.82 inches
Width     2.3 inches          2.3 inches             2.54 inches
Depth     1.1 inches          0.37 inches            0.39 inches
Weight   5.6 ounces         4.8 ounces             4.26 ounces

As can be seen from the figures above, in terms of GENERAL size and shape design, except for a bit less weight, a narrower bezel (frame), and the thinner depth of the iPhone -- as enabled by increasing technological miniaturization of electronic parts over time for the ENTIRE industry, not just for Apple -- the iPhone is a virtual copy of the Sony Ericsson P800. The Samsung Galaxy S differs substantially.

Our point here is that the entire legal discussion about litigation over the design of Apple and Samsung products leaves out the very important fact that the design of electronic hand-held devices has a long history, a history providing prior art for a host of features adapted one way or another by subsequent products. Basic features are clearly copied, also by Apple.

We have covered the design debt of the iPhone (introduced in the year 2008) to the 1972 Sinclair Executive and the 1977 Braun ET44 at LCD Touch Screens Led to Thinner Design for Smartphones and Tablets via the Prior Art for Pocket Calculators: The iPhone Copies the Sinclair Executive of 1972 and the Braun ET44 of 1977.

Take a look now at and Mobile phone evolution: Story of shapes and sizes.

The first touchscreen smartphone to make any substantial impact was the Sony Ericsson P800, which was introduced in the year 2002, six years prior to the iPhone. It was followed by the Sony Ericsson P900 and the Motorola A920, introduced in 2003. These phones already show the typical design features that are found in subsequent more modern touchscreen smartphones: i.e. design rectangles with rounded edges, a much larger display area enabled by miniaturization of technology and larger screen displays, much narrower bezels (frames around the LCD) and a much thinner depth of the entire device.

We have linked the following image of the Sony Ericsson P900 (left) and the Sony Ericsson P800 (right) from CNET UK:

Image of Sony Ericsson P900 and Sony Ericsson P800 linked from CNET.
The iPhone merely increased the display surface, but it was not the first.

Image of Motorola A920 linked from

The trend not only to a thinner depth but also to a display that covers nearly the entire front surface of a hand-held can be seen in the 2005 Palm TX, a "PDA" (personal digital assistant) with a touch screen, here shown from the front and side.

Images of Palm TX linked from ZDNet in an article written by

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