HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1)
The first Android smartphone to hit the market was the T-Mobile G1 (also known as the HTC Dream). It was released in October 2008. It had a 528 MHz processor, 192 MB of RAM and a 3.2 inch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. It also had a full physical QWERTY keyboard which was revealed by sliding the screen aside. There was a trackball for navigation and a 3.2 MP camera.
It was released with version 1 of Android but later updated to version 1.5 Cupcake. It definitely had its flaws and the platform was limited when the G1 was released with very few apps or games available, but the phone was still fairly popular.
HTC Magic (T-Mobile myTouch 3G)
The next Android smartphone was another HTC device. This time it was the HTC Magic released in August, 2009 in the US and it was marketed as the T-Mobile myTouch 3G. It was released in May in the UK by Vodafone.
The HTC Magic featured the now common candy bar form factor and relied upon its 3.2 inch capacitive touch screen for interaction. It had a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels, just like the G1, and the rest of the specs were also very similar. There was a 528 MHz processor, 288 MB of RAM and a 3.15 MP camera. It also had a trackball and it ran Android 1.5 and was soon updated to 1.6.
Samsung Galaxy (i7500)
Now it was Samsung’s turn to try an Android device and they came up with the Samsung Galaxy i7500. It was another Android 1.5 device that was updated to 1.6 shortly after release.
The i7500 upped the stakes a bit. The processor was 528 MHz again and it was backed by 128 MB of RAM, but there was also a 5 MP camera and 8 GB of internal storage. The capacitive touch screen had the same 320 x 480 pixel resolution and it was 3.2 inches in size, but it was an AMOLED instead of an LCD. Samsung would go on to develop the Galaxy brand and create some truly awesome Android smartphones.
The next big Android release was the hugely popular HTC Hero with its distinctive chin. It was actually changed for the US release and they removed the bevelled chin. It was released running Android 1.5 and later updated to 2.1.
The Hero was a nice smartphone but the specs were much the same as the Galaxy i7500. There was a 528 MHz processor, 288 MB of RAM, a 3.2 inch capacitive touch screen and a 5 MP camera.
Towards the end of 2009 Android smartphones started to roll out thick and fast and the specs improved dramatically. The biggest release was the Motorola Droid (it was called the Milestone in the UK). It was released running Android 2.0 and it really helped the Android platform to take off as it was heavily promoted by Verizon as an iPhone beater with their Droid Does campaign.
It had a 600 MHz processor, 256 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera but the real leap was the display. The original Droid featured a 3.7 inch capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. It was also the first Android smartphone to ship with Google Maps installed. It also had a sliding, physical, full QWERTY keyboard.
LG Eve GW620
LG also released their first Android smartphone at the end of 2009. The Eve wasn’t the best smartphone on the platform by a long shot but it was reasonably priced. It had a 528 MHz processor, a 3 inch resistive touch screen, a sliding physical QWERTY keyboard and a 5 MP camera. It only had version 1.5 of Android on release but it was eventually updated.
Google Nexus One
The New Year brought the first official Google branded Android smartphone. The Nexus One was manufactured by HTC and was very similar to their excellent HTC Desire. It ran stock Android 2.1 and since there was no overlay (like HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz) it was first to get the 2.2 upgrade. Google sold the Nexus One without a contract directly through their website, though it was also made available at T-Mobile.
The Nexus One boasted a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. It also had a 3.7 inch AMOLED capacitive touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Despite being a great device at the time sales were reportedly disappointing.
Samsung Galaxy S
The Galaxy S came out in the summer of 2010 and it was released in a number of guises in the US – Epic, Vibrant, Fascinate, Captivate and Mesmerize. It was hugely successful and Samsung sold over 10 million worldwide in the first six months after release.
The Galaxy S had a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. It was the 4 inch Super AMOLED touch screen that garnered the most plaudits though. It had a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and featured stunning clarity and vibrant colors.
HTC EVO 4G
The EVO 4G also came out in the summer of 2010 and it was launched as Sprint’s flagship phone running on their WiMAX network. Offering unsurpassed speed it became their best-selling launch day phone.
Apart from the faster network support it also offered an 8 MP camera and a front-facing 1.3 MP camera for video calls. It also had a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 4.3 inch LCD touch screen with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels.
Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
The long awaited PlayStation phone launched in April 2011. Running Android 2.3 Gingerbread the Xperia Play also has a 4 inch touch screen that slides up to reveal a set of PlayStation controls.
The specs are nothing special – a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera. However, the 4 inch screen has a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels and the controls are just like the ones found on the PSP. There are also a few games optimized for the smartphone. The Xperia Play is the first dedicated gaming phone on the Android platform.
Samsung Galaxy S II
One year after the original Galaxy S and Samsung is at it again. The Samsung Galaxy S II has already sold 10 million units worldwide and it looks set to surpass the original. It is probably the best Android smartphone of the year and has a very impressive set of specs.
It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and an amazing 4.3 inch display. The Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touch screen is simply gorgeous and supports a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. It also has an 8 MP camera and a 2 MP front-facing camera.
Google Nexus Prime
The next big release on the Android horizon is rumored to be the Google Nexus Prime which will be manufactured by Samsung. All we have to go on right now is this image at the end of a Samsung video teaser. The scheduled Samsung and Google event was cancelled after the sad death of Steve Jobs but it looks like it will go ahead in November so stay tuned.
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