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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Sure, they may seem outdated by today's multi-core, super-sized standards, but they were once considered cutting-edge - cream of the crop of their Android kind.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


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