Ten years ago today, the world of smartphones changed. The T-Mobile G1 made its debut with little fanfare, a small phone trying to claw its way out of the shadows of BlackBerry and the still-AT&T-exclusive iPhone, which was entering its second generation.
Our original G1 review said "despite some complaints about UI hassles, the G1 is an achievement. It's a full-featured smartphone that's a bit rough around the edges and is missing a few features here and there that might be deal-breakers for some. Those features shouldn't be long in coming, though."
And indeed, they were not.
Some of us knew this little gem would be a game-changer; there were few Android-centric websites back then, but the little bits 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.
A previous birthday anecdote from our resident Android guru Jerry Hildenbrand
"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."
Today, the world of Android is beyond anything we could have imagined. Android passed 2 billion monthly active users last year, and they're firmly focused on how to better reach and serve the Next Billion Users. Android phones have gotten more powerful than ever with flagships like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Perhaps even more importantly, affordable phones are reaching new standards of performance and stability, as projects like Android One seek to keep Android phones current and secure whether they're big or small, pricy or budget-minded, fashion-forward or fastidiously functional.
And from the wildfire of innovation the G1 and Android OS sparked came Chromebooks, and Chromecasts, and Wear OS smart watches, and the Google Home line, and so much more. So whether you still have a G1 kicking around in a drawer somewhere or you came to the party more recently, raise a glass — or a glass-backed phone — to the original Android and all that it's made possible today.
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