Four years ago today, the world of smartphones changed. The T-Mobile G1 made it's debut, with little fanfare, a small following, and a huge BlackBerry-shaped shadow over its head. Some of us knew it would be a game-changer, but I don't think anyone expected what we're seeing today. 1.3 million daily activations, over 500 million (that's half a billion) Android phones sold, and consistent growth in market share every quarter.

Google knew. There were few Android-centric websites back then, but the little bit of news we all got from Google about the Android project let us know they had big plans. An open-source platform for manufacturers to build apps and access the web was a lofty goal -- a goal we're glad the folks in Mountain View had.

The G1 was the phone that got me hooked. It wasn't quite good enough to replace my BlackBerry, but the nerdy side of me was excited and looked forward to the day when the Android platform was robust enough to be my daily driver. Now that those days are here, I'm happy. 

I still have one of my original G1 phones, and every now and then I throw the SIM card in it and use it. It's no barn-burner, and pales when compared to today's monster-spec'd phones, but it's one I'll be keeping forever.

Join me while I say Happy Birthday to the little G1, and check out a gallery after the break.