Do I Need an Android Dev Phone?

Do I Need an Android Dev Phone?
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Introduction To ADP

The Android Dev Phone (ADP) is a phone sold by Google to registered Android Developers. To become an Android developer, you must first register with Google and pay a $25 registration fee. The phone comes fully hardware/software unlocked (with root access), an unlocked bootloader, SIM unlocked, and thus contract free to use anywhere in the world. Since there is no service contract, you pay the full price of the phone up front (about $400-$500).

Developing Using an Android Dev Phone

The phone’s main users are advanced Android developers (devs) looking to test their apps and assist in the development by giving devs an open platform to debug and program. As Google points out, however, it is no substitute for the Android Emulator to test an application on different configurations (screen sizes, orientations, platforms, etc.).

Android Dev Phone 1 (ADP1)

android dev phone 1 g1 htc dream

The first Android Dev Phone 1 is a version of the HTC Dream (better known as the T-Mobile G1, the first Android smartphone). It looks like a black G1, but features a nifty back design and dark brown/black color.

Android Dev Phone 1’s Specifications and Features:

Android 1.0, Slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3.2” touchscreen, trackball, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0,

  • 256MB ROM
  • 192MB RAM
  • 528MHzQualcomm 7210 Processor
  • 1GB MicroSD
  • 3.2MP Camera
  • Quad-Band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • UMTS 3G 1700/2100

Android Dev Phone 2 (ADP2)

android dev phone 2 htc magic

The second Dev Phone is a version of the HTC Magic (aka T-Mobile MyTouch 3G, HTC Sapphire, or Google Ion). At its heart, it is a upgraded Dev Phone 1 (HTC Dream) with 512MB of flash memory (instead of 256MB) for more ROM space and an upgraded battery life. Unlike the first phone, it is only a 3.2” touchscreen and lacks a physical slider keyboard.

Android Dev Phone 2’s Specifications and Features:

Android 1.5 Cupcake, 3.2” touchscreen, trackball, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0,

  • 512MB ROM Storage
  • 288MB RAM
  • 528MHzQualcomm 7200 Processor
  • 1GB MicroSD
  • 3.2MP Camera
  • Quad-Band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • UMTS 3G 900/1700/2100

Dev Phone For All: Google Nexus One

google nexus one phone

The Nexus One does not carry the official Android Dev Phone name branding, but it is an unlocked HTC-made device for both consumers and developers. It was only sold by Google for $529 and was SIM and hardware unlocked. It is currently Google’s latest self-branded phone that receives the latest updates (most recently Android 2.2 Froyo when it was released).

Nexus One’s Specifications and Features:

Android 2.2 Froyo, 3.7” touchscreen, trackball, GPS, Bluetooth 2.0,

  • 512MB ROM Storage
  • 512MB RAM
  • 1GHz Qualcomm QSD 8250 Snapdragon ARM Processor
  • 4GB MicroSD
  • 5MP Camera
  • Quad-Band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
  • UMTS 3G 900/1700/2100 or 850/1900/2100

Where to Get an Android Dev Phone

The first way to get an Android Dev Phone is obviously to purchase one (limit 10) through Google on the Android Market as a registered developer. It is sold to many countries (20+) around the world. Other alternatives to finding these phones are to attend I/O developer conferences where phones have been handed out for free in the past. The last way to get one that everyone has access to are the usual channels of eBay, Craigslist, and online forums.

Do You Need an Android Dev Phone?

So, that brings us back to the title of this article, do you really need an Android Dev Phone? If this is the first time you’re hearing about them, the answer is undoubtedly no. They were meant for developers to fully test their products and have a nice sleek limited-edition phone. For the end-user, there is no need for a Dev Phone, since any Android phone can be rooted and SIM unlocked to allow the same, unlocked access. Today, there are so many top Android phones that, since the Android Dev Phones have not been refreshed recently, they are starting to show their age (limited RAM and processing power). You wouldn’t really want one other than as a novelty item anyway! If you must have a Google-branded phone to develop on, your best bet is to pick up a Nexus One or wait for the rumored Samsung Galaxy S Nexus Two, which may just be on the horizon.