Saturday, October 27, 2012

Google 'copies' Apple, loses key prototype phone in San Francisco bar

Apple's former CEO, the late Steve Jobs, accused Android of being a stolen - and copied - product, and now Android has gone and copied Apple again. A Google employee left a prototype LG Nexus 4 device in a San Francisco bar, reminding us of the two times that Apple employees did the same with prototype iPhones.

The LG Nexus 4 is Google's next Nexus developer phone. It will, as all these devices do, carry stock Android and is important to Google as a phone designed to be used as a reference device for developers. It is also important to LG, as for the first time LG has first dibs on a new version of Android (4.2).

Reports of the event were reported by Wired on Friday, and if you think that Google would play things any different than Apple did, you'd be wrong. Google issued legal threats to Jamin Barton, the bartender who simply found the phone.

In addition, Google told Barton's friend, the man referred to in the story simply as "Dave," he could be considered an accessory in a crime. Barton brought Dave into the picture because Dave was more tech-savvy. Dave contacted Google, and that's when the sh*t hit the fan.

In addition to the legal threats, Dave told Barton that he had "just got a guy (the employee who lost the phone) fired."

Google's Global Investigations & Intelligence Manager, Brian Katz, was desperate to retrieve the phone, and did so as quickly as he could. In the end, it proved to be of little import: leaked images and more about the Nexus 4 leaked soon thereafter.

The desperation is interesting enough, but also interesting is that Katz offered Barton a free smartphone if he agreed to keep quiet on the matter until after the Nexus 4's unveiling. The exact phone model is unclear, but it was probably that selfsame Nexus 4, which could have an unsubsidized (no contract) value of around $500.

Instead, though, Barton took the story to Wired, and was paid a freelance fee for the photos published with the article.

The video below shows the LG Nexus 4 referred to in the report, booting up.

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