This Day in Android: T-Mobile G1 ushers in the Android era (2008)

This Day in Android: T-Mobile G1 ushers in the Android era (2008)

It was exactly four years ago today that T-Mobile USA released the G1, setting off a crazy chain of Android events and momentum.  Manufactured by HTC, the G1 (aka Dream) was the first Android smartphone ever and featured a little bit of everything.  There were no less than three input options for users, including touch display, physical QWERTY, and trackball, and each was helpful in its own way.

As the anti-iPhone, it was all the stuff that Apple’s handset was not, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.  The G1 was called clunky, awkward, and ugly and the OS was deemed half-baked and lacking.  In fact, outside of the Android enthusiast circle, it would have been difficult to foresee so much success for the platform.  Detractors were quick to point out the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack or lack of a flash for the camera, however Android faithful were able to look beyond the shortcomings. Nevertheless, we were in love with our G1 and would not be swayed.

The G1 launched with a beta version of the Android Market with consumers able to choose from a whopping 50 applications. Fast forward today and we have more than 600,000 apps and counting.

Hardware at the time, was pretty darn impressive and would actually be the type of stuff that would power more than a few devices down the road.

Hardware for the T-Mobile G1:

    • Display: 3.2 in TFT-LCD HVGA screen with 480×320 pixel resolution
    • CPU: MSM7201A Qualcomm 528MHz processor
    • Keyboard: Sliding full 5 row QWERTY keyboard
    • Side controls: A pair of volume buttons, a camera button
    • Camera: 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus
    • Storage: 256MB ROM, expandable up to 16GB microSD
    • Memory: 192MB RAM
    • Battery: 1150 mAh battery, advertised to offer up to 130 hours of standby power.
    • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g),  Bluetooth 2.0+EDR

Available in black, white, or bronze, the G1 was the first foray into Android for a large number of our readers.  We could not wait to get our hands on one of these as it would be our daily driver for quite a long time.

Did you buy a T-Mobile G1?  I’d love to hear your stories about the handset, the first time you played with it in person.  What was your first reaction the second you had Android in your hand?


About author

Scott Webster
Scott Webster 6602 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.

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  1. BigEd
    October 22, 16:16 Reply

    I switched from VZW to T-mobile just to get the G1. I had 3G while all my friends were stuck on their iphone with 2G at the time. I pulled up a linux console for the first time and they were blown away. The best day was when a new version of Android was released and we could actually record video! It was good times for sure, not to mention the early ROMs that were being working on at the time.

    • raitchison
      October 23, 20:44 Reply

      Yep I still remember running the JesusFreke ROM on my G1 before eventually moving on to CyanogenMOD.

  2. Boone Simpson
    October 22, 18:32 Reply

    I had a sidekick 3 and did not love the g1 at first, it wasn’t until the sidekick outages that I jumped to the G1 once donut was out. While the keyboard was not as good, and Android OS was unrefined, I quickly fell in love with all that the G1 could do. The Sholes/Milestone / Droid 1 quickly made me a die hard android fanboy and that was all she wrote.

  3. Shane D. Newsom
    October 23, 09:02 Reply

    I got this and it was a good switch. Even though i loved my helio phone.

    • raitchison
      October 23, 20:47 Reply

      G3 would have been announced more than a month ago if it was coming, TMO came out with a QWERTY slider just a few months ago and I knew it meant there would be no G3 because they wouldn’t try to sell two with hardware keyboards at the same time.

      I was an original G1 owner and am still a G2 owner but the crappiness of the G2 keyboard and the awesomeness of Swype have pretty effectively cured me of any need I have for a hardware keyboard anymore.

  4. raitchison
    October 23, 20:43 Reply

    I bought my G1 the week it came out, it was not only my first Android phone it was my first smartphone.

    Still rocking my G2 as my personal phone but it’s definitely long in the tooth at this point. There won’t be a G3 :(

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