Happy birthday to the T-Mobile G1!

Happy birthday to the T-Mobile G1!

Today marks the three year anniversary of the T-Mobile G1 and the dawn of the Android era.  We felt like taking the opportunity to reflect on where things were at the time and what the state-of-the-art Android brought to the smartphone industry.

In terms of hardware, the G1 came with a 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A ARM11 processor, 3.2-inch display, 256MB ROM, 192MB RAM. The handset was unique in that it featured a sliding QWERTY keyboard with an unorthodox snapping hinge mechanism in addition to a trackball. Right out of the box, Android offered users choice in the form of three input methods.  Then there was choice in the three color variations: white, black, and bronze.

The chin

Perhaps the one feature that stood out the most for the G1 was its chin.  The handset was unlike any other smartphone we had seen thus far and its form factor was never repeated.  Although other phones like the Hero would go on to employ some aspects of the G1 we have yet to see a sliding QWERTY (5 rows!) with a chin and trackball since.

Additional specs for the handset show us just how far Android devices, and smartphones, have come in the three successive years.  Although there was microSD expansion available, there was only support for 16GB whereas today’s allow for 32GB.  Wi-Fi was limited to 802.11 b/g, the battery capacity of 1,150 mAh gave us a solid half day or longer, and the 3.2-megapixel camera was perfect – just so long as it was broad daylight and you were shooting still images.

At $199.99 with a two-year service agreement, this was the best thing going and T-Mobile was ready to kill the iPhone.  There was no mistaking that this HTC Dream was a force to be reckoned with, even if it didn’t have auto-rotate, Bluetooth, widgets, a virtual keyboard, video recording…

The leak heard ’round the world

Longtime Android followers may remember seeing the image below – a schematic of the G1 that set the tech industry on fire.  AndroidGuys had been operating nearly 10 months at the time of the leak but this really put us on the map.  We went from an indie niche blog with a smattering of developer followers to the hottest tech site on the internet…at least for a day or two.  It has been nothing short of a pleasure to cover Android on a daily basis these past (almost) four years and I cannot wait to see where we are this time next year.

Your favorite G1 tale

Leave a comment below telling us your G1 story.  Did you buy it on day one?  Do you still have it?  What was the first app you ever installed?

About author

Scott Webster
Scott Webster 6692 posts

Scott has been running AndroidGuys since 2007 and loves nothing more than reading up on the latest smartphone rumors. His other mobile efforts can be found on Android Update (CNET) where he covers Google's mobile platform.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Wheat/1618884429 Josh Wheat

    I remember reading some info about Android and the G1. I was fascinated and at the time slightly jealous of the iphone users. I had to get it. So I pre-ordered it like alot of folks did. The day it came in the mail was a happy day indeed. I never had a phone I couldn’t put down. It has been that was since then too. Since between me and my wife we are on our sixth Android phone.

    T-Mobile G1 (rooted with custom rom)
    Mytouch (rooted with cusom rom)
    Motorola Cliq (rooted with custom rom)
    Mytouch 3g Slide (rooted with custom rom…and still have)
    Mytouch 4G (rooted with custom rom….still have-wifes)
    Samsung Galaxy S 4g (rooted with custom rom…mine)

  • Christopher Houser

    The G1 was my first smartphone. Sure, the chin was awkward. And yeah, when I went for my first T-mobile OTA update it killed my phone and I lost all my settings. But that convinced me to root it and put CyanogenMod on it. And that keyboard layout was wonderful. There was a technique a few G1 users had down in which you’d just alternate pressure on various parts of the thumb pad and you’ll hit the keys you’re looking for. 40-50 WPM was very possible. I remember typing a bunch and waiting for the phone to catch up. Those were the days. Moved to a Nexus One and am currently running a MyTouch 4G Slide. :) Can’t wait to get CyanogenMod again.

  • Philip Courtois

    Stood in line at my local T-Mobile store before dawn on launch day and paid full price for it ($499 I think). I’m still rockin’ it with a super-sized battery and rooted with CM6.1.

  • Anonymous

    I must admit on first seeing this phone I wasn’t impressed, I still wanted my update to the latest WM phone (yes I said it and I am not afraid to admit it, but remember Android was new and unheard of back then). 

    I have regretted that ever since, on not getting that phone and getting on the Android journey a year earlier.
    I had for some time tried to purchase a model off ebay but I couldn’t justify the prices being asked, but who knows now that we are at Android 4.0 I may still be able to get one just for nostalgic purposes only.

    Happy Birthday G1

  • Anonymous

    It did have auto rotate. You had to check it in options.

  • Anonymous

    The G1 was mine and my wife’s first endeavour into Android.
    We both own rooted Desire Z’s now (G2)

    • http://www.dastardlyreport.com ryaninc

      Same here. Wife and I both got G1s on launch day, and now we both have rooted G2s. The G1 was definitely one of my favorite phones. It was surpassed pretty quickly by other Android phones, but rooting it made it all the better and I was very happy with it for those 2 years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=782075577 Brandon Cruz

    Got this about a month into its release and I have to say that I haven’t had anything since that beats that keyboard. I’ve went iPhone, to Blackberry, to newer androids (G2, G2x, Sensation), and now a Pre3 – but that keyboard is still unsurpassed. I still have the G1 kicking around in my drawer – now black instead of white after a housing change – and sometimes use it just for fun. Happy birthday, G1! 😀

  • Omer7979

    Bought my son a G1 when they came out,I wasn’t sold on android yet…I loved that phone, I think I tried to use it as much as he did…I remember when he dropped it in the toilet, we thought it was over.but 2 days in a rice bag and I must say, takes a flushing and keeps on blushing…loved the phone so much I now have my own G2.

  • Elite-Droid

    I remember me and my cousin went on break from work and was speeding to the T-mobile store at the mall just to get our G1. Just got our taxes back. Lol. I miss my G1 and throwing it in iphone users face (like the street view on maps) My cuzin and I were in a car accident 2 years ago and I lost my G1. I ask to put her G1 in her casket at her funeral. Her life was all on that phone. I miss her. She was my best friend. Since then I’ve had the G1, OG Droid, Droid Incredible, and currently with my Evo 4g. Love Android. Happy Birthday G1

  • http://twitter.com/hrpuffnstuff Mattew DeGeorge

    Sadly after rooting my G1 and trying various ROMS ,  I got impatient while the software was updating, powered it off and bricked my G1 . I am selling the extended battery on Ebay and cannibalizing the parts for various projects. The worst thing is I am a tech writer and IT guy and shoulda known better R.I.P G1

  • Tnpapadakos

    it wasnt my G1, but the only reason i got into android was because of my friend’s G1…after seeing that thing, and looking at my t-mobile dash p-o-s, i went to the store and bought the myTouch 3G….modded his G1, modded my mt3g, started doing themes and such, and have never regretted the day i went android…f*ck crapple

    • http://twitter.com/JackFetch JackFetch

      I also had the T-Mobile Dash. It was good for what it was, and better than the BB I upgraded from, but it didn’t come close to what Android could do.

  • Deafptl4ever

    MMy favorite tale was when I rooted it with the Market application before it was pulled. Then when I put on Cyanogens rom I was stoked.. Now I have a rooted Fascinate with CyanogenMod nightly. Next will be the new Nexus with Ice Cream.

  • Justin Bennett

    whats up with the windows xp screenshot on the phone? :(

  • http://twitter.com/JackFetch JackFetch

    My first smartphone was the original Sidekick. From there I went from Blackberry, to a Windows phone, to the G1. I fell in love with Android the moment I turned it on. I’m now on my third one.

  • http://twitter.com/victorstuber Victor Stuber

    I wanted the G1 so bad but when I heard rumor of a keyboardless G1 (mytouch) I waited months till it came out. It was an awful phone but I loved it so much. 

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  • BrooklynAvi

    Bought the G1 a week or so after launch (joined XDA a day or two later). I left it on the roof of my car and drove off. When I remembered it, I slammed on the breaks, got out only to see that it wasn’t there. I backed up and heard a sound that almost made me cry. I ran over my G1. No insurance (I’ve since learned to get it). I literally drove around the corner to my T-Mobile store and paid full price for a new one. Was worth every penny. I’ve owned no less than a dozen Android devices since. Happy birthday G1.

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  • BadN10Tion

    Thank you Tmobile and Htc for giving Android the first shot when other carriers didnt and this was my first android, day one purchase but now i owe the HTC SENSATION 4G

  • BadN10Tion

    The G1 I Preordered it from tmobile online and i got it  a day early ran to the door and the ups man handed me the box and i closed the door opened it set everything up and downloaded the barcode scanner, scanning everything in sight the had a barcode on it, went to work and i with my G1 was the talk of the town but my friend had the iphone and he was starring at my phone for days.Thank you Tmobile and Htc and Google.

  • Anonymous

    Bought my G1 through preorder and got mine 2 days before the store started selling them. I still have it in excellent shape. The first app I installed was ringdroid and rings extended. I still break it out every now and then to mess with it as I do with my Nexus One

  • Ziggy Folkmanis

    It did (does) have auto-rotate, Bluetooth, widgets, a virtual keyboard and video recording…

    • Anonymous

      after the update… og not

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  • nBlevins

    I was so excited to get the G1 when it came out. I remember watching the Google, HTC, T-Mobile press conference when it was first being announced. I still own 2 different G1’s. One time I bought the European white housing kit, and completely disassembled my bronze one and turned it into the euro white (green keyboard and white battery cover). Took me about 10hrs of time! That phone was an engineering marvel at how it was constructed.

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  • Scott Kirkland

    My G1 had a full long life. As soon as it got close to my area I drove 30 minutes out of town to get it on my lunch break. I used it STOCK until the Galaxy S 4G came out…I used the GS4G until the G2x came out, sold the GS4G and bought the G2x.

    My 1 year old daughter now plays with my wife’s white G1. Perhaps we’ll do a factory reset and bring it back to life :-)

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