T-Mobile G1 – A guide to Android

T-Mobile G1
Launched: Oct. 22, 2008
Carrier: T-Mobile USA
Vendor: HTC
Price: $129.99 with a two-year contract

Pros: The phone was the world's first impression of Android and helped establish a baseline of the basic Android experience, which brought together the mobile Web and the Google ecosystem. "The fact that they just focused on the very basic, standard Google experience obviously ... helped seed the market, but also started from a very simple standpoint," Bajarin said. "You couldn't have overloaded them with features that they couldn't have understood."

Avi Greengart, the research director for mobile devices for Current Analysis, was more blunt: "It was the only one you could buy," he said. "All the cons were sort of irrelevant. If you wanted an Android phone, this was the one you got." He noted that the capacitive touchscreen and the Android experience itself were key appeals.

Cons: There were numerous complaints about the phone, particularly the form factor, which many thought was chunky. "It was thick. It looked kind of like and old Palm PDA," said Ross Rubin, the director of industry analysis in consumer technology for the NPD Group. "The keyboard did not draw raves."

Impact: The phone was a foot in the door for Android, Rubin said, and also gave T-Mobile a bona fide 3G phone. He also said it showed some of the heritage of the carrier's Sidekick line of Internet gadgets. Looking back, Jackson said, the phone was a success despite its flaws.

"Retrospectively, the G1 met and for the most part exceeded everyone's expectations. It was highly anticipated at a time when iPhone had not yet clobbered everybody, but it was pretty clear that that was going to happen," he said. "So you had the ‘geekerati' looking for an alterative. At the time, it was a competitive product. One million units, by most people's measure, is an unqualified success."

T-Mobile G1 – A guide to Android