I’m getting a little tired of this myth. It never seems to die. The basic premise is, Android used to look like a Blackberry, then the iPhone came out, and then it all of a sudden looked like an iPhone. First of all, people need to learn the difference between hardware and software. An Operating System can not look like a piece of hardware. It’s just not possible. If you want to see what Android looked like during it’s prototype phase, you need to strip the hardware away. Otherwise, the thick of wit can’t get past the hardware keyboard.
Here are two different screen shots of the original Android interface. The picture on the left is the desktop, the picture on the right is the Application Menu. The original design of the OS had a few icons in a bar at the bottom, which the Blackberry didn’t have, but the iPhone did. Selecting the Applications button brought up the Applications menu, which shows all installed applications for the users selection.
Fast forward to the release of the first Android phone.
There are some significant differences in the interface from the initial design to the release. First thing you can see is that there is a giant clock in the middle of the screen. Android added the capability to do widgets, which the iPhone doesn’t have. The bottom bar of icons (which the iPhone had) is gone, replaced with a single button to bring up the Application Menu. The Application Menu is virtually identical, but then it’s hard to change a grid of icons. One grid pretty much looks the same as another. Android apparently also added the ability to put icons on it’s desktop. It’s unknown if it had this functionality before. None of the prototypes had any icons on the desktop, but that could very well have just been a display choice. Regardless, the iPhone wasn’t the only device to have icons like this. The Blackberry interface more closely resembles the iPhone interface than Android does, and did it much earlier than the iPhone did.
Based on actual evidence, it could be argued that the look and feel of the Android OS actually became less like the iPhone. Since then, Android has evolved significantly. iOS, not so much.