More than a year after Apple released its iPhone in 2007, the first device to use the Android operating system was released. Known for its slide-out keyboard and charming chin, the HTC Dream (a.k.a. the T-Mobile G1 in the U.S.) served as a watershed moment for Google’s eventual rise to the top. It wasn’t the best smartphone when it was released in 2008 but it became the template for things to come.
After Android Inc. was acquired by Google in 2005, development on software began with an aim to run on a device that looked much more like a BlackBerry than an iPhone. But following the iPhone’s unveiling in January 2007, Google shifted its strategy and soon reworked the software to run on a touchscreen device. Thus, the HTC Dream was born.
Released by T-Mobile in 2008, the device helped introduce the world to what would eventually become one of the most successful operating systems on the planet. The G1 features a fairly compact design and a distinctive “chin,” which housed five navigation buttons: call, home, menu, back, and end call. It also featured a clickable trackball, which became one of its most defining features.
Android devices released today often sport incredible specifications—to see how far the market has come, check out what the G1 came rocking when it launched:
Display: 3.2-inch (320×480)
Processor: 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A
Storage: 256MB with microSD support
Software: Android 1.6 (Donut)
The G1 received mostly mixed reviews when it first launched. While people enjoyed the early version of Android, the device’s hardware wasn’t particularly popular. Of course, it was compared endlessly to Apple’s iPhone, which was still on a high following its release the year earlier.
Contrast that with today, and Android adoption has blown past Apple’s iOS, while hardware running Google’s mobile platform, such as the Note 7, is miles ahead of the G1. T-Mobile eventually discontinued the dream in 2010, with a spiritual successor coming out that same year.
To learn more about the HTC Dream, check out our retrospective above.