In Short: An infographic put together by consumer goods website Hometop shows all of Google’s first-party branded Android phones, from the very first Android handset, the HTC Dream or G1, all the way to the recently announced Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The history lesson, attached below, shows what years each smartphone came out, and a few factoids about them, such as things they may have done before any other phones, what chipsets powered them, and how much RAM they had. Whether you’re feeling nostalgic for the old Android days or you’re new to the space and want to know how the evolutionary line went in the leadup to the newest Pixel devices, it’s worth a look.
Background: The journey begins with the humble HTC Dream, known as the G1 stateside. It was the very first Android device, and had a trackball, slide-out keyboard, and a screen that could be almost be called extreme in its smallness by today’s standards. Notable stops along the way include the NASA-approved Nexus S, the revolutionary Galaxy Nexus that debuted alongside Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and introduced the Holo design language that would go on to define the Android 4.x era and lead into Material Design, and the massive and pricey Nexus 6 that brought the Nexus lineup into the premium space and actually debuted Android 5.0 Lollipop and Material Design. Of course, the list of honorable mentions also includes the very first Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones that showed the world what happens when Google not only partners with a smartphone manufacturer, but takes the reigns and makes something cohesive with the rest of its lineup.
Impact: Looking at the evolutionary line, you’d be forgiven for thinking that things got stagnant when the era of the Nexus ended and the Pixels took over. That’s actually Google asserting its very own design language in the smartphone space, and it’s a trend that looks set to continue for the foreseeable future. As the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL showed, each Pixel going forward is going to be a large step above its predecessor, but not a quantum leap. You may see new capabilities, more powerful chips, slightly changed designs and other small details changing, but thus far, the Pixel lineup has yet to deviate from its roots in any significant way, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. Just ask any Apple fan, or any Samsung loyalist who was around for the pre-Galaxy S6 days.