8 classic Android smartphones that blew our minds back in the day

8 classic Android smartphones that blew our minds back in the day
Like most other things in the world, Android had a bumpy start. It took a great amount of software enhancement, hardware experimentation and, not of lesser importance, Verizon's huge marketing budget, in order to finally get things going. Along the way, however, we got to deal with some pretty unusual and remarkable smartphones for their time.

Sure, they may seem outdated by today's multi-core, super-sized standards, but they were once considered cutting-edge - cream of the crop of their Android kind. Who are they? Well, they are the smartphones that helped establish Android's foundations. A bit rough around the edges, and not really that mainstream, but still full of charm.

T-Mobile G1


Of course, how can we even have a list with "classic Android phones" without starting things off with the first ever Android handset - the T-Mobile G1 (also known as HTC Dream). Sure, this first Android wasn't much to look at, but as we already said - no beginning is easy.

  • Release date: September 23, 2008
  • Screen: 3.2" TFT, 320 x 480 pixels
  • Chipset: MSM7201A | 528 MHz CPU | Adreno 130 GPU | 192 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 1.0
  • Role: Android initiator


Samsung Galaxy


There isn't that much to recall here when thinking about Samsung's first Android phone, the Galaxy, but knowing the way Samsung outright conquered this market, we can't help but trace the root of its power back to the very beginning - the first Galaxy smartphone.

  • Release date: June 29, 2009
  • Screen: 3.2" AMOLED, 320 x 480 pixels
  • Chipset: MSM7200A | 528 MHz CPU | Adreno 130 GPU | 128 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 1.5 Cupcake
  • Role: Samsung's baby steps


HTC Hero


Ah, the HTC Hero... A remarkable phone - one of the first major efforts at Android interface customization. Realizing the need of a more polished user environment, HTC went ahead and produced Sense UI - a good-looking and customizable (for its time) experience that actually made HTC's Android look quite tasty in comparison with its stock variant. You know, there was no Matias Duarte at Google back then...

  • Release date: July 23, 2009
  • Screen: 3.2" TFT, 320 x 480 pixels
  • Chipset: MSM7200A | 528 MHz CPU | Adreno 130 GPU | 288 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 1.5 Cupcake
  • Role: First major Android customization with Sense UI


Motorola DROID


Even though the market had seen some interesting Android devices, the Android revolution was still missing its true hero device to really kick things off. That phone came at the end of 2009: Motorola, in strong partnership with Verizon Wireless, released the Motorola DROID. Backed by a massive marketing campaign mostly aimed at the tech-savvier part of society, the DROID quickly became a hit with users who wanted a powerful smartphone without an Apple logo on it.

  • Release date: November 5, 2009
  • Screen: 3.7" TFT, 480 x 854 pixels
  • Chipset: TI OMAP3430 | 600 MHz CPU | PowerVR SGX530 GPU | 256 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 2.0 Eclair
  • Role: Kick-starts the Android revolution


HTC Legend


HTC may be one of the many struggling phone manufacturers now, but back in the day, it was raking in record profits each consecutive quarter. The company made a rather successful transition from the aging Windows Mobile to the promising Android and, at least during the first few years of its new endeavor, HTC was up there at the top of the food-chain. The HTC Legend came out near that time of grandeur for HTC. Considered a spiritual successor to the HTC Hero, the Legend not only had the signature Sense interface, but also featured a sleek metal uni-body design.

  • Release date: March 12, 2010
  • Screen: 3.2" AMOLED, 320 x 480 pixels
  • Chipset: Snapdragon S1 | 600 MHz CPU | Adreno 200 GPU | 384 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 2.1 Eclair
  • Role: A symbol of HTC's excellence in product design


Google Nexus One


And here comes the first Nexus phone. Of course, it came and went with relatively little buzz, but it was warmly-welcomed by the tech-savvy community. Not only this, but the Nexus One (produced by HTC), was Google's first serious intervention in the hardware aspect of the Android ecosystem. It didn't sell much, but back then, it was only offered full-price through Google, and full-price meant in the range of $500-600, not $200-300.

  • Release date: March 16, 2010
  • Screen: 3.7" AMOLED, 480 x 800 pixels
  • Chipset: Snapdragon S1 | 1 GHz CPU | Adreno 200 GPU | 512 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 2.1 Eclair
  • Role: First Google phone



Samsung Galaxy S


Samsung's true foray into the world of Android began with the Galaxy S smartphone. Even though things really started exploding with the second generation of the S line, the original Galaxy S was the phone that directed the spotlights to shine in Samsung's direction. It was the beginning of Samsung's dominance, and also - the beginning of the end for the HTC era.

  • Release date: June 2, 2010
  • Screen: 4" AMOLED, 480 x 800 pixels
  • Chipset: Hummingbird | 1 GHz CPU | PowerVR SGX 540 GPU | 512 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 2.1 Eclair
  • Role: Originator of the massively-successful Galaxy S line


Motorola DROID X


With a few rare exceptions, Motorola has been "enjoying" a mostly underdog status during most of its time in the Android business. Well, besides the popular DROID, one of those rare exceptions was the DROID X - a surprisingly versatile and well-rounded smartphone that proved to be technologically-superior to most of its peers. The fact that we rated it 9.5 at the time is a testament of its excellence.

  • Release date: July 15, 2010
  • Screen: 4.3" TFT, 480 x 854 pixels
  • Chipset: TI OMAP3630-1000 | 1 GHz CPU | PowerVR SGX 530 GPU | 512 MB RAM
  • Initial OS version: Android 2.1 Eclair
  • Role: A stand-out performer for its time

FEATURED VIDEO

50 Comments

50. OdysseasP

Posts: 67; Member since: Aug 08, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S2? The only smartphone to combine a Super Amoled screen with a RGB subpixel layout. Also the first android smartphone considered to be a real competitor to the iPhone that was in the market at the time.

35. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

Where's the HTC Evo 4G? Seeing that it came out before the Droid X, was the first 4G device, and was one of the first phones to break the 4in mark in screen size.

34. anirudhshirsat97

Posts: 408; Member since: May 24, 2011

Galaxy S II??

33. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

I just had Galaxy S, and I hate it D: It was so sloooow! :C

30. Kwiss1200

Posts: 9; Member since: Apr 12, 2014

Samsung Infuse 4G, had the best camera at, that time.. Still have it and the pictures are great...

29. shy2papa

Posts: 336; Member since: Jan 23, 2010

HTC has always known how to make quality phones

26. foreverjin08

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

HTC Hero, my first smartphone, is still my favorite phone among everything.

25. gaara6775

Posts: 738; Member since: May 20, 2014

HTC Legend is still my dream phone. I wanted it so badly but it went out of stock everywhere, so I ended up with HTC Desire. But I will buy legend someday.

24. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

The Galaxy S wasn't very good and it didn't even sell much until everyone wanted the GS2. I guess people that couldn't afford the GS2 ended up buying the S. The GS2 was the real legend. That thing beat the crap out of all of its peers so badly it wasn't funny.

36. TheGenius

Posts: 339; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

Yeah .. Gs2 is what took samsung to throne. It still is the most beautiful device by samsung. And that extremely over saturated screen.!! Oh god.. I still love that screen.! Samsung did an amazing job on that device and they deserve that success.!

39. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

When the SGS2 first came out, it was unmatched when it came to speed and responsiveness, I still remember being blown away how smooth the web browsing was and how awesome it was to game on it.

23. Jason78

Posts: 281; Member since: Apr 10, 2013

I sometimes wonder if early smartphones will have collector status in 20-30 years like the first personal computer do today. Will someone in 2050 be willing to pay thousands for a first generation iPhone like they will today for an early Apple computer?

20. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Something else that might be a mistake. Htc's Sense interface was technically around before the HTC Hero. They were using it on WinMo phones, only it was called Touchflo. IIRC Sense was just Touchflo on the android platform.

19. KingKurogiii

Posts: 5713; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

i'm kind of surprised that the HTC Evo isn't in this list. o:

38. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

I was thinking the exact same thing. While OG Moto Droid and SGS1 were awesome phones, IMO the HTC EVO had it all back then. It had a huge wide display, a more powerful processor, better camera, and great design. My only nag was it was only on Sprint and by the time Verizon got The Thunderbolt, they were just getting LTE going and it was a disaster period for original LTE phones.

18. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

My friend still owns the HTC Legend (albeit with a missing cover), and it's currently running Android 4.1.2 in the form of MIUI

17. iampayne

Posts: 322; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

Was hoping the Droid Incredible made the list.

15. tokuzumi

Posts: 2029; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Like gorkapr said, no love for the Evo 4G? Granted, the Evo 4G was only available on sprint, but that phone actually helped Sprint gain customers during the last two quarters of 2010. To this day, I think the Evo 4G was my favorite phone.

13. gorkapr

Posts: 74; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

We need to mention the HTC Evo 4g, first BIG screen on Android, First 4G phone on the US.

28. chengsae

Posts: 64; Member since: Dec 10, 2013

DROID BIONIC 1st 4g LTE with Duel Core.

10. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Small mistake here, Android 2.1's name is Eclair not Froyo, but overall very good read thx PA.

12. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Oh boy, I've fixed it, but I could really do with some nice frozen yoghurt right now...

14. PootisMan

Posts: 267; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

No Atrix 4g?

7. fanboy1974

Posts: 1345; Member since: Nov 12, 2011

The Droid OG was my first taste of Android and I never looked back. Next was the Droid X. Hard to believe that those were my only 2 Motorola phones. Samsung just started to steamroll the competition.

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Also, you might want to consider splitting the galleries and phone list up into like 4 pages. Having it all on one page almost gave my work computer a damn heart attack.

9. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

Then you might want to upgrade you PC/Mac, cause it isn't even a strain for a mid-end phone to load this xD.

11. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Yeah, like I said: WORK computer. Not allowed to touch it. :P

21. Astoni

Posts: 649; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

oh ok :p. but still that has to be an old one :/

41. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Lol yeah, I think it only has a single gig of RAM.

37. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Working doesn't mean browse phonearena.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless