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12 devices that shaped the history of Android and its major releases

Posted: , by Florin T.

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12 devices that shaped the history of Android and its major releases
Officially launched by Google earlier this month, 5.0 Lollipop is the eleventh major version of Android - and, as expected, it’s making its debut on Nexus devices first. But things weren’t always like this: not all major Android builds were introduced alongside a Nexus, and that’s because Android had publicly existed many months before the introduction of the first Nexus product.

Lollipop is definitely one of the most important Android releases ever, and its launch is a good occasion for us to take a look at all the devices that helped Android become what it is today - by being the first ones to come with a major release of the OS out of the box. Join us below for a trip down the memory lane, will you?

T-Mobile G1 / HTC Dream (Android 1.0)

The T-Mobile G1, also known as HTC Dream, is the world’s first commercially available Android device. Initially launched in October 2008 in the US, the smartphone reached other markets in the following months. Compared to how many Android users are out there today, only few people have bought the G1 / Dream. Even so, this was a great handset for its time - when Symbian was still the indisputable leader of the smartphone market, and the iPhone was at its second version (and the first to have 3G connectivity). At launch, the G1 ran Android 1.0, which, unlike most of the Android releases that followed, did not have a confectionery-themed name. The smartphone has a distinctive deign, with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 3.2 inch HVGA (320 x 480 pixels) display, and a chin that houses hardware buttons.


HTC Magic / T-Mobile MyTouch 3G (Android 1.5 Cupcake)

2009 brought us not just Android 1.5 Cupcake, but also a brand new device to use it out of the box: the HTC Magic / T-Mobile MyTouch 3G. Released in Europe in April 2009, then in Asia (May), and in the US (July), the Magic was the first touchscreen-only Android smartphone, ditching the QWERTY keyboard, but keeping the chin and the 3.2-inch HVGA screen of the G1.


Motorola Devour (Android 1.6 Donut)

Android 1.6 Donut was a rather weird update, because it was quickly overshadowed by Android Éclair. Donut was released in September 2009, only one month before Éclair. That’s why there weren’t many handsets to run Donut out of the box. The first one was the Motorola Devour, a QWERTY slider launched by Verizon Wireless in the first quarter of 2010.


Motorola Droid / Milestone (Android 2.0 Éclair)

While the first smartphone to come with Android 1.6 Donut from day one was introduced in 2010, by that time we already had a handset that ran Android 2.0 Éclair: the original Motorola Droid - launched by Verizon in November 2009 in the US, and known as the Motorola Milestone in other markets. Verizon and Motorola released the Droid as an iPhone alternative, helped by a Droid Does marketing campaign (which pointed out the things that the iPhone could not do). The Droid / Milestone was a pretty large smartphone for its time, sporting a 3.7-inch display with 480 x 854 pixels, and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.


Motorola Droid 2 (Android 2.2 Froyo)

The Droid 2 was introduced in August 2010 as the successor to the original Motorola Droid. It was the first to come preloaded with Android Froyo. When the Droid 2 hit shelves across the US, Google had already released the Nexus One (this, however, ran Android 2.1 Éclair at launch).


Google Nexus S (Android 2.3 Gingerbread)

Later in 2010 (in December), Google launched the Samsung-made Nexus S, which became the world’s first Android 2.3 Gingerbread handset. It was also the fist smartphone made by Google in collaboration with Samsung, being based on the original Samsung Galaxy S.


Motorola Xoom (Android 3.x Honeycomb)

It’s safe to say that Android Honeycomb was a failed experiment - because it was launched by Google as a tablet-only version of Android (in February 2011). Honeycomb debuted on the Motorola Xoom slate - which was pretty well received by customers, and, thankfully, was eventually updated to Ice Cream Sandwich.


Galaxy Nexus (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich)

Succeeding the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus was the second handset made by Samsung for Google, and the first in the Nexus series to sport a 720 x 1280 pixels display (4.7 inches, Super AMOLED). Obviously, the Galaxy Nexus was also the first to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich, being released in November 2011.


Google Nexus 7 (Android 4.1 Jelly Bean)

After ICS, Google worked harder to enhance the Android experience on both smartphones, and tablets. Thus, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was born, debuting on the Asus-made Google Nexus 7, the very first tablet in the Nexus series. Available since July 2012, the Nexus 7 was affordable (prices starting at $199), and yet it offered a lot of nice features, like an 800 x 1280 pixels IPS display, and a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor.


Google Nexus 5 (Android 4.4 KitKat)

Introduced at the end of October 2013, the Nexus 5 is the second Nexus smartphone made by LG - after the Nexus 4 (which, by the way, was released in November 2012 running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean). Like the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4, the Google Nexus 5 offers high-end specs at an affordable price, still being a great option if you're in need of a speedy handset. 


Google Nexus 6 and Google Nexus 9 (Android 5.0 Lollipop)

Finally, here we are in October 2014, when Android 5.0 Lollipop is already out - though, at the moment, only for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7. The first devices to run Lollipop out of the box are the HTC-made Nexus 9 tablet and the Motorola-made Nexus 6 smartphone. Both pack high-end features, and this time Google decided to ask premium prices for them: the Nexus 6 costs $649 / $699, while the Nexus 9 costs $399 / $479. Both new Nexus devices will be released on November 3.

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posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:27 5

1. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2049; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


You've missed out the Xperia Z.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:37 5

3. Chris_Bakke (Posts: 235; Member since: 23 Jan 2013)


Which version of Android did that have first?

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:03 12

14. tuminatr (Posts: 766; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


I dont agree with this list Galaxy Note should be on here Or Dell Streak as first phablets. An no way the Motorola Devour should be on this list because it was released after the Moto Droid as a low cost alternitive and its piece of junk. Also the Galaxy series because they were the first to make the same android model for all carriers.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:05 4

15. tuminatr (Posts: 766; Member since: 23 Feb 2009)


Also Nexus 4 Because thats when Google decided to change their business model and sell direct to the public and a very resonable price.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 05:30 4

37. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3716; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


The title might be slightly deceiving, but if you had actually read the article, you would have seen that they are highlighting devices that were the first to drop with a new version on Android. The Galaxy Note or Dell Streak clearly don't qualify.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 08:40

46. The-Sailor-Man (banned) (Posts: 1095; Member since: 25 Mar 2014)


Agree.
Galaxy was the line that made Android so popular. !!! But it was not mentioned here.
Streak was first that break the 5" border, no matter that apple's propaganda and the tech media experts killed Streak (I've owned one and loved it)
Note line that proved that the display is one of the most important feature of the today's pocket device , and that we could have a PC in the pockets.
This all was that made Android the World leader.
.
BUT PLEASE, do not use this "phablet" BS !!!!!!!

posted on 27 Oct 2014, 13:05

57. Crispin_Gatieza (Posts: 1597; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


The Devour was NOT released after the Droid and it was the first to run Donut, which is the subject of the article. Which device ran the newest version of Android. Maybe if you read the article instead of just looking at the pictures you'd know this.

posted on 27 Oct 2014, 14:22 1

58. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3716; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


I've been saying it along. Half of the people who commented clearly didn't read the article. Sad.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:27 5

17. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


To miss out on the Samsung Galaxy series in an article that talks about handsets that shaped android is like talking about cars that made Ford while ignoring the Taurus/500. Sure other phones had important updates and features, but nothing has shaped androids future like the popularity that has been brought by the Samsung line of products. Without them, android might still be a distant second in sales (and thus features and apps) to iOS.

Also the N4 deserves a mention for its value+power+ beauty proposition which next to no other sets have all of.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 05:31 1

38. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3716; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


The title might be slightly deceiving, but if you had actually read the article, you would have seen that they are highlighting devices that were the first to drop with a new version on Android. No Samsung Galaxy device meets that criteria.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 16:54 1

51. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


I always read the article before commenting.

If it was simply highlighting a list of androids that dropped with a new OS version, the Nexus 4 would not have been skipped.

Honestly, either the title is flawed, or the work is. If its a list of "important" devices, the galaxy line can not be skipped any more than the Nexus line can (in fact, they are by far the 2 most important lines). If its a list of devices that carried updates, then its an incomplete list.

And either way, the nexus 4 should have been on the list as it was the first nexus to really push the boundaries of power + new OS + premium design + super cheap to buy. Its still a beauty to this day.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 17:16

52. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3716; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


The reason the Nexus 4 was skipped is because it debuted 4.2 which was still Jellybean. I agree they should have highlighted 4.2 & 4.3 as well, but that is clearly the reason.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 04:23 2

33. maherk (Posts: 3420; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


Or the Galaxy S2 and the S3. The S3 was one of the main reasons for Android today's success in the States.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 08:22 1

44. mayur007 (Posts: 563; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


no, they missed galaxy s

from which android took a new role

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 08:24

45. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)


We need a SONY nexus version. And yes they're missing the OG Z.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 09:01 1

47. Rydsmith (Posts: 515; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)


What did the Z do for Android? It didn't sell particularly well not did it launch with an up to date OS.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 16:37 1

50. lsutigers (Posts: 819; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)


HTC Evo 4G should definitely be on this list as the pioneer of feature-packed super phones with large displays. Also the first 4G phone in the US.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:34 1

2. Nexus4lifes (Posts: 155; Member since: 13 Feb 2014)


Samsung Galaxy Note ????
Motorola xoom changed android negatively not positively for sure...

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:39 3

4. Florin.T (Posts: 212; Member since: 16 Dec 2013)


To quote myself: "devices that helped Android become what it is today - by being the first ones to come with a major release of the OS out of the box." The Galaxy Note wasn't the first to run any version of Android. Same goes for the Xperia Z. Don't get me wrong, I think both were great devices at launch.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:40 1

6. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2049; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


He wasn't talking about the Xperia Z.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:51 2

11. SonyFindOneDroidple (Posts: 773; Member since: 11 May 2013)


"GALAXY NOTE wasn't the first to run any android version ..........................>>> same goes for the Xperia Z" Mr. Florin T just wanted to call your attention w/ regard your 1st comment :D

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 04:21 1

32. ahomad (Posts: 175; Member since: 15 May 2012)


devices that helped Android become what it is today =/= being the first ones to come with a major release of the OS out of the box

The way I understand it (and probably most people) "devices that helped Android become what it is today = Devices that came with innovation, features and improvements that helped shaping the current OS"

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:39

5. jroc74 (Posts: 5987; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Ok...this is more about Android the OS than hardware or popularity. The first few comments dont seem to get this. Except Chris....lol.

Maybe some didnt read the article... :-(

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:45 1

8. XperiaFanZone (Posts: 2049; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


I found out seconds after remitting my comment, but the fossilised browser I was operating took too long to transmute before the time extremity.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:46

10. jroc74 (Posts: 5987; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


lol.. It happens.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:46

9. jroc74 (Posts: 5987; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Now seeing this....I forgot a major release came with the Droid 1...between this and Honeycomb IMO changed the face of Android the most. (from that other article)

Verizon, Motorola and the Droid marketing put Android on the map.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 05:02

35. Rager722 (Posts: 319; Member since: 30 Jan 2013)


And HTC. The G1 and MyTouch sold a lot and its the first. Don't forget.

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:45

7. BBRYy (Posts: 29; Member since: 06 Oct 2014)


These were the tru android fones not the s**t they got today

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:51 1

12. jroc74 (Posts: 5987; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Okay....we will just chalk this up to opinion.....

Wow.

1. At least 3 are tablets.
2. 1 phone is releasing with Lollipop....which makes it a phone from today.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 07:51

43. BBRYy (Posts: 29; Member since: 06 Oct 2014)


Referring to the first few phones running android 1.0

posted on 25 Oct 2014, 23:55 1

13. SonyFindOneDroidple (Posts: 773; Member since: 11 May 2013)


But If we are goin to change the sense of the article, galaxy s2 and s3 are two of the most important devices for android.. Note Series is like, ohhmyy I can't think of any word enough to describe this niche. :D
Xperia Arc(S) one of the most beautiful android devices, how I wish Sony to let this design back in the game :)

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:24 1

16. Taters (banned) (Posts: 6474; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Bad choices. I think Google dropped the ball on this one. I was pretty stoked about the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4/10, and the Nexus 5.

No interest at all in the Nexus 6/9.

Android L does look fantastic though.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:27 2

18. Pem3108 (Posts: 15; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


I think you're missing the HTC Nexus One!

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:46

20. jroc74 (Posts: 5987; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I would agree.

Those mentioning the Galaxy and Note phones....again...its about Android the OS and version releases. Not popularity, not sales, not market share, not hardware.

The Devour is odd to be on the list tho...lol. I understand why it is, but its still odd.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:29

19. pathofwisdom (Posts: 7; Member since: 18 Oct 2014)


the nexus 7
still have it

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 00:54 1

21. QuadFace (Posts: 134; Member since: 19 Aug 2013)


Why you didn't say much about the Nexus One/Desire?

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 01:02 1

22. sherkhan (Posts: 33; Member since: 02 Oct 2014)


Phonearena You Missed SOny X10 Mini .... Such a small cute phone

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 01:07

23. Andrewtst (Posts: 609; Member since: 25 Jan 2009)


How could be Google Nexus one missing from list. Google Nexus one is the one bring up the android.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 02:20 4

24. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Galaxy S2? The phone that changed everything and set a new benchmark for Android hardware?

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 05:32

39. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3716; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


The title might be slightly deceiving, but if you had actually read the article, you would have seen that they are highlighting devices that were the first to drop with a new version on Android. Which version of Android was the S2 the first to have? Right...I didn't think so.

posted on 27 Oct 2014, 02:03

55. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Of course, I did read the article, PA messed it, what could've been a great article. Also writing an article about which device ran an android version first is a lame topic, and even that wasn't executed right.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 02:21 2

25. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3689; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Galaxy S2? The phone that changed everything and set a new benchmark for Android hardware?

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 02:33 2

26. rockers123 (Posts: 132; Member since: 08 Sep 2013)


WTF? Most of em outside the US doesn't even know about Nexuses. How come they shaped the Android. Real credits goes to Samsung, without their Galaxy brand there woudn't be any success of Android.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 02:37

27. AussieSlayer (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Oct 2014)


Motorola in Australia had next to no market share, it's main market would have been USA and Canada. Motorola was certainly a dominant manufacturer along with Nokia and Ericsson in the early days, their flip phones were iconic. With Android, HTC Dream started it all, with follow up devices like the Magic and Hero. Samsung phones should have been quite prominent in this article, as they have been the biggest selling brand with Android. Sony also made some nice phones and still do but I don't believe they set any milestones, a unique product would have been the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play which was a bit like the old Nokia's N-gage to appeal to gamers. Tablets, well Asus, Samsung, Sony and Motorola all contributed a lot to that category....poor updates or no updates certainly left a bad taste for many owners of various android devices, although they are getting better now

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 02:39 1

28. hellfire (Posts: 7; Member since: 23 Aug 2014)


Archos should be included in the list- first android phone that really reach the masses.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 02:48

29. AussieSlayer (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Oct 2014)


I wish they never released Honeycomb, my stupid Google TV/Sony NSZ-GS7 just got left high and dry with minimal development and hardly any apps. The other 2 devices I remember having Honeycomb were the Motorola Xoom and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7"

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 02:55 2

30. nodes (Posts: 681; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)


today's tech is getting boring.
those old days, there were many OS exclusive to the brands.
nowadays, it's allllllllllllll android.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 06:34

41. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1635; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


How is that bad...It means less fragmentation and quicker updates...besides most OS's exclusive to brands were pretty rubbish

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 04:09

31. mokhtar (Posts: 405; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


stupid list from stupid website

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 04:40

34. kenobi (Posts: 35; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)


Half (if not the majority) of the credits and thus, the content of the article should be given to iPhones and iOS.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 23:36

54. jroc74 (Posts: 5987; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


And whenever an article like this is done about the iPhone....half, (if not most) of the credit should be given to Palm, Win Mo and BB.

Its a never ending argument that can go both ways.

posted on 27 Oct 2014, 07:30

56. kenobi (Posts: 35; Member since: 30 Apr 2013)


Agree to agree hahaha. The shape of the phone industry today is very much shaped by the previous and current competitions. None of the manufacturers who close their ears and eyes prevail. Still, when they say "shaped", there was this one big hand that is iPhone that they didn't credit enough when they want to keep the title.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 05:09

36. dome888 (Posts: 72; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)


my first android phone was a samsung galaxy i5700, before that was numerous nokia phones. i love it the moment i used the phone and i knew then nokia will be a lot in trouble

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 05:36 1

40. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3716; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)


It amazes me how many people obviously didn't read the article--more than likely just glossed through & right down to the comment section. This article is highlighting the first device to debut with each new version of Android. It's not "insert super popular Android device here" or "goundbreaking Android devices" or "let's talk about my favorite Android smartphone". Read the damned article before commenting & looking stupid.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 07:49

42. aboudo_o (Posts: 3; Member since: 03 Dec 2013)


How can I own a nexus 6 and 9 when it's not released yet? lol
I own nexus 5 now, and nexus 7 2013, and I will pre-order nexus 6 on 29 oct, and next month I will get the nexus 9! I had nexus 4 before and I wished I used galaxy nexus, nexus s, and nexus one before just so I can own every single nexus on the planet!

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 11:23

48. st3fan (Posts: 2; Member since: 26 Oct 2014)


Don't forget the LG GW620 :)

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 16:33

49. JEverettnow (Posts: 226; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)


This might of well of been a linear history of Google Nexus devices. What a piece of crap article.

posted on 26 Oct 2014, 22:23

53. spasticpat (Posts: 94; Member since: 18 Dec 2012)


Had the Devour. It was way too heavy and I traded it in for a Blackberry Tour. Blackberry worked perfect for work so it was perfect phone for me.

posted on 27 Oct 2014, 19:31

59. corporateJP (Posts: 2431; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


The amount of people here who either didn't read the article or don't understand what Florin was going after is shocking.

However, I do agree the Devour was sh*t, took more back after selling them than people keeping them. But, yes, it was the first "Donut"...

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