Sep 23 AT 2:52 PM Dustin Earley 32 Comments

Happy 5 birthday Android!


Where were you five years ago today? I don’t know exactly where I was, but I know I had no idea that a phone and operating system that was destined to rule the world were being unveiled by Andy Rubin, then T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman and HTC’s Peter Chou. On September 23, 2008, the HTC G1, and Android, were revealed to the world.

The HTC G1 and the first public versions of Android didn’t exactly take the world by storm, but they did exactly what they needed to do. The G1 introduced the world to Android, before being shoved aside for the original Droid — the phone that really put Android on the map. In hindsight, you might say the G1 was one of the most important computers to be released in the last ten years, but I sure didn’t know it at the time.

At the time, I remember thinking the G1 was a strange device. I was just starting to get really into smartphones, and didn’t know up from down. I thought the G1 looked like a Sidekick, but seemed considerably more boring. It was like a knock off BlackBerry, an executive power phone, and not nearly as impressive as the iPhone. That was of course all before I finally got my hands on one.

To this day, you’ll still hear Android early adopters pining for the days of the G1. I wouldn’t use one now if you paid me (well, OK, maybe I would), but I sure do miss it sometimes. I often dream of an updated G1 with the same body and different internals stuffed inside. Then again, I feel the same way about the myTouch 3G and Nexus One. It’s just nostalgia, but I’m not alone.

Today, we salute the G1, and celebrate the fifth anniversary of Android. To think of how far Android, and smartphone hardware, has come in the last 5 years is nothing short of mind blowing. I’ve shared my short story on how I felt about the first Android phone, now it’s your turn. Do you remember when the G1 was first announced?

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • ranwanimator

    Still have my old G1, though it doesn’t do much now except collect dust on my bookshelf.

    • Gr8Ray

      Yup. Samesies.

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    • aranea

      I sold mine to a friend and he loved it as much as I did. I’m not sure what he did with it afterwards.

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  • Thorpe

    Yup, I had one! Nice phone for it’s time. Crazily enough, I know someone currently STILL USING this phone. haha

  • WatcherJohn

    Five years ago I was using my Palm Pilot Treo, wishing HP didn’t screwed the pooch.

  • @CaseyRain

    I loved my G1 so much, and used it for a full two years from just after launch to late 2010. People like JesusFreke and then Cyanogen were able to squeeze so much life into that device. I still have it, it’s sitting in it’s box. A lot of sentimental value right there.

  • da9el

    happy birthday android!
    my first smartphone was the htc desire and i remember that i always longed for the nexus one :)

  • SGB101

    Still got mine, it want until doughnut arrived that I knew I made the right choice.

    Happy birthday.

    It’s a shame the race is over now, most of the fun has gone! Whoever said “it is not the destination, but the journey… ” , was spot on.

    • SGB101

      I’ve also just remembered that was the last 12month contract I had. It all changed to 24 after that. I had the desire next, had lots of phones over that 24 month period, but always returned to the Desire, great phone, it was 27 months service till the one X finally retired it. Shame the X only lasted 6 months, till my note2 replaced that. And until last week when I smashed the glass, I was happy. Using a nexus 4 atm, and not that impressed after 8 days of full time use.

      All my bits are now here to fix the note, fingers crossed it goes well tomorrow.

  • Jay

    Had the mytouch 3g but the G2 is one of my favorites of all time behind my current phone the Galaxy S3

  • ihatefanboys

    Miss my G1. But I disagree. I think Android caught on big time with early adopters. As much as the DROIDs had commercials, the G1 and G2 had better quality in my opinion.

    • SGB101

      Theg1 was a failer in reality, it was moto and their DROID campaign that save android.

      I only ever seen one, other than mine, in the wild, and the same with the nexus 1st.

      the desire was much popular, and the first hit in the UK, followed by the sgs3.the s3 was when we really knew android had at least equaled apple, in the consumers eye. We all knew long before tho.

  • destinydmm

    I had a Windows 6.5 phone, I think the Moto Q. I was heavy into modding it then, I remember very little now. Bit I thought it was going to take over the mobile world, LOLZ. How wrong was I? A friend of mine had the G1 and I remember thinking how ugly and oddly designed it was. I hated it and Android. It wasn’t until the Droid and 2.0 that I was really blown away and appreciated Android for what is was and would become. Congrats to Android and 4.4 and beyond!!!

  • Matthew Varallo

    8 years ago I was working at T-Mobile when google announced that Mobile handset alliance, 5 years ago I was at T-Mobile launching the HTC G1. Today I don’t work for T-Mobile but my love for android is still running strong! Happy Birthday to the best cell phone operating system in the world!

  • rashad360

    Unfortunately, my g1 is unusable, but it did give me nearly 3 years of flawless use. It still holds the record for the longest run as my phone. I remember the bad times as Android began to fragment beneath the g1′s feet but thanks to the work of an enthusiastic community it was able to live to see Android 2.2! I still wish more android phones had full keyboards, I remember emulating a pokemon game and assigning the controls to the keyboard for a seamless experience. Despite the pitiful processor and RAM it ran surprisingly well for most tasks, it will truly go down as one of my favorite devices ever.

  • JM Andrade

    Still own and USE my Nexus one! What a frickin device that is! Just love it! (Had 4 – yes four – HTC One and had to return all of them – defective devices…) sigh…

  • Ryan

    I didn’t own the G1, but I remember reading an article not long after it came out saying that Android would eventually overtake both Blackberry and Apple, which sounded like a far fetched idea at that point. I wish I could remember who wrote that article because they nailed it!

    FYI, first smart phone/android was the OG Droid! Loved that phone!

  • Taylor

    I was so thrilled to get mine on the first day at. I endured constant questions about what it was (not an iPhone), what is Android (only the most awesome mobile OS around), and “why didn’t you get an iPhone?” (I hate all of Apple’s rules and then there was AT&T…). Onto the Nexus 4 now am doing can’t imagine anything else but pure Android.

  • rev2redlineguy

    Oh, I so remember my first Android phone…it was the T-Mobile myTouch 3G (almost got the G1 but changed my mind). From there, it was love at first sight with Android. I had a good experience with that myTouch phone but soon moved on to others like the awful Motorola Cliq (ugh, I am embarrassed to say that I actually use to own that phone), Samsung Vibrant, and a few others until I left and went to Sprint. I have to say that my two favorite phones I have owned have been the HTC G2 (loved the design and keyboard plus it was pretty peppy for performance at the time) and my trusty Galaxy S3. Now as newer devices are starting to hit the market, it will be time to move onto something else come November. My choices so far: Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G2, and HTC One Plus (I might of said it wrong but it is the larger version of the One currently on the market which is a fantastic device). Happy birthday Android! Wishing you many more successful and fun birthdays in the future.

  • Kilgore Trout

    I like Android better than Windows 8.

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  • donger

    Had the G1 then the Nexus One. Missed the old days.

  • Nick N

    Happy Birthday Android!

    I wanted one back when it came out but I was with Sprint at the time, my brother had the MyTouch 3G. Bought a Sprint HTC Touch (Windows 6.5) and ran Android off of the SD card instead. Fast forward to 2013 and I am now on T-Mobile with a Windows Phone 8 Lumia 521. :-(

    Cruising Craigslist a few months ago I found a black G1 in near mint condition. Traded my Sprint Nexus S 4G for it. I immediately went home, rooted it, and flashed the required radio/SPL. I settled on the EZ Gingerbread ROM on XDA.

    Sadly this phone is not much of a daily driver as it lags quite a bit. Maybe the hardware is just old, but I still like it. It is sitting in my desk as I type, I rock it every now and then just because.

  • VBM

    I was stationed overseas at the time and had no idea what a “smartphone” was. When I got stationed stateside, I kept seeing commercials for the myTouch 3G and it’s cameos of Chevy, Whoopi and Willie. I remember the cool song that played in the background of the ad. I remember thinking “dude, all the things they’re doing in this commercial is awesome and I need to be able to turn my phone into a mouth too!” The next week I was in NYC with my girlfriend (now wife) purchasing 2 MT3Gs… I had no clue what Android was. “Apps?”, I thought. “Programs, you mean?” Now, there’s no way I’d leave Android. Damn that phone was awesome-for 3 months! lol.

  • Jonathan

    The G1 was truly a dream!!! Was still being used by a family member of mine until about a year an half ago. Pretty incredible. Its amazing how far touch screen tech has come, the early phones were impossible to use without the little track wheel of the G1. I had to drive 6 hours to another state in order to get my hands on one early. Great times. Happy Birthday!

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  • revs



  • Steve Williams

    I was intrigued by the ads for this phone. The specs at that time were unbelievable. But I couldn’t justify the $600 price tag (still can’t — thank you Google for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4.

  • Panadolax

    I remember selling my black g1 with cynaogenmod 6 for 80 quid on ebay in 2010 :P

  • Jeff Edwards

    My G1 is still my day-to-day cell phone to this very day. Received in December of 2008, it has served me well in for almost 5 years of day-in day-out service, living in my pocket or laying on my desk when not in use. It has a few dings on it (the glass over the camera just fell off today) but on the whole it is still working at 100% of its Android 1.6 goodness. Sadly, I’m thinking about retiring the old guy; I’m just missing out on too many “new” features and capabilities — besides, he’s earned his rest. I wonder how many other 5 year old original G1′s are still dukin’ it out there in the field?