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How did the first Android smartphone change everything

Looking back, it’s clear that the T-Mobile G1 (aka HTC Dream) challenged Apple’s iPhone from day one.

Google’s first Android phone is 10 years old. It’s hard to believe that the phone that started it all – the HTC Dream (known as the T-Mobile G1 in the US) – has such a silly and clunky design. But despite everything, this new platform made Apple’s iPhone tremble in ways that the big brands of the time like BlackBerry, Palm, Nokia and Windows Mobile couldn’t.
Google announced the HTC Dream on September 23, 2008, a year after Apple’s first-generation iPhone revolutionized what it meant to be a smartphone. While the strength of the iPhone lies in its clean, simple design, and easy-to-understand interface, the first Android phone stands out for its personalization and customization of the user experience. Currently, more than 85% of phones in the world run Android.

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It’s an unprecedented achievement, as the G1 doesn’t have the looks or interesting little things of the iPhone. Its slide-out physical keyboard makes many people bored because the keys are too flat; the chin – which houses the physical buttons – is oddly raised, hindering typing; Basic things like virtual keyboard and headphone jack are completely missing. But this thick, heavy phone still left an indelible mark on the smartphone world, bringing us into the future that exists today.
The G1 also had a few key features that the iPhone at the time – the iPhone 3G, running iPhone OS 2 – was missing: a good camera, and the cut/paste capabilities – the power of the platform that Google created. Most importantly, G1 has proven that a software company can make a successful mobile phone. Here’s how this somewhat silly device achieved its glory.

1. Prove Customizability is #1

The G1 immediately differentiates itself from the first iPhone by allowing users to make profound changes to the user interface and perfect the way you use your own phone. For the really ambitious, this means they can write their own apps. For most users, tweaking the G1’s home screen to their liking is an exciting start, and a core part of Android’s reputation. With countless launchers, icon packs, wallpapers, widgets and folders, what you see can be changed in the blink of an eye.

The iPhone then followed this trend: you can change the wallpaper, organize apps into folders, etc., but the G1 shows that customizing the smartphone interface is a real need (and in what ways). That said, customization on Android is much simpler than on Windows Mobile).

It’s not just users customizing their Android phones. The platform’s openness means that smartphone makers can take stock Android as a foundation and build their own ROMs, with skins, launchers, and even apps and features. private.

Of course, this openness also has a downside. Fragmentation, the ghost always snooping around Android’s room, then becomes a barrier to the ability of this operating system to update quickly, especially when manufacturers have to spend time tweaking updates. updated to suit their custom interfaces.

The user’s interest in the customization capabilities that Android offers has been evident since this first G1, and is also the reason why Android is so successful at the present time.

2. App Market
The iTunes App Store came out just a few months before the G1, but HTC’s phone was still a threat to iPhones at the time, which already had its own app ecosystem.

The Android Market (later to become Google Play) allows G1 users to skip the wait to be able to do a lot of new things with their phones, whether it’s games, shopping, or catering. Work. Even back in 2008, it was clear that apps were the future of phones, and the G1 was ready from the get-go.

The nature of the Android Market makes it both strong and weak. With a more selective and censorship mechanism than Apple’s, Google’s app store sees a wider range of apps, and is more friendly to developers of all backgrounds.

On the flip side, a gentler quality control process means you’re more likely to get malware, rogue apps, or apps that don’t keep up with Android updates.

3. G1 takes the power of Google, and puts it in your pocket

As the first Android device, the G1 allows Google to lure you into relying more on its online tools.
The strength of the iPhone is its ability to work with other Apple hardware. The first iPhone was basically the most magical iPod Apple ever made, because it could make calls and had apps you can find on a Mac.

Google chose to go in the opposite direction, focusing on the powerful and ever-expanding ecosystem of the Google software empire. With the G1, you have the power of Google Search in your pocket, plus Gmail and the great Google maps app. Most of these can be used on the iPhone (Google Maps was the iPhone’s default mapping app before Apple created the “original” Apple Maps line in 2012), but with Android, they all come pre-installed and tightly integrated into the operating system. If you’ve ever used Google tools, Android is a no-brainer choice.

With Google, that means you’ll rely on Google products at home, at work, and now, everywhere else in between.

4. Set a precedent for various designs

Although the first Android phone had a QWERTY keyboard and lots of buttons, Google’s plans for the G1 went deeper.

The G1’s mission was to show buyers how a “Google phone” would work, and to give app developers something they could tinker with, from which Android phones continued to go. Followers will be able to start with a stronger base.

Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Android users saw a wave of smartphones from Motorola, Samsung, LG, and even more devices from HTC. This small Android army has all screen sizes, device sizes, photography capabilities, …

But if it weren’t for the first Android phone to plant the pioneering flag and to gauge consumer excitement, we might never have seen the Motorola Droid – which was touted as an iPhone replacement. real; or HTC Evo 4G – the first 4G phone in the US; the first Samsung Galaxy Note with an S-Pen; or the Google Pixel 3 will be launched on October 9 here.

5. HTC’s miracle pave the way for Pixel
Before the G1, HTC was a small manufacturer in Taiwan, trying to become a global brand to compete with giants like Samsung and Motorola.

G1 gave HTC the opportunity to break through and start a partnership with Google. Their subsequent phones were all memorable: the Google Ion/T-Mobile MyTouch 3G – the second Android phone, the HTC Hero – the first CDMA Android phone, and the HTC Droid Eris – the first Android phone. with the ability to zoom images with 3 fingers (pinch-to-zoom).
But it wasn’t until the Nexus One in 2010, that HTC really took a big step forward in the Android world. A “pure” Android phone, receiving updates faster and with the original Android interface, without the customizations of the phone manufacturers that are so popular. Since then, HTC has continued to make some other top-notch Android devices, like the Pixel 1 in 2016. This year, Google even paid $1.1 billion to hire HTC engineers to do the work. the company’s upcoming phone project.

6. Apple’s True Rival Becomes Apple’s Only Rival

Perhaps the most significant effect of the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1 is its role: a fierce rival to the iPhone. Google and Apple – two companies based just 18 kilometers apart in Silicon Valley – are two of the most powerful and attractive technology companies in the world.
Apple and Google were also the ones who entered a very crowded phone battle at that time, controlled by BlackBerry, Nokia (Symbian OS), and Windows Mobile devices in the “smart” segment. “, and flip phones, bars in the affordable segment (feature phones are in the middle segment).

With the iPhone becoming more and more popular, the veteran platforms began to “fall off” gradually. But then Android appeared, new, attractive, with great potential of Google to compete with Apple for the position of the phone platform of the future.

T-Mobile G1 also urges Apple to do better, bringing features on par with Android on later iPhones, like better cameras, maps with turn-by-turn navigation, and… cut/paste . Google was so successful that Android today not only competes with the iPhone, it is the only iPhone competitor in existence.

And it all started with a small and funny phone.


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