Android: 2008 Year In Review

The first full year of Android Delight is now in the history books and if you ask us, it was a huge success. In the name of fun and commemoration, we’re going to summarize the year that was with Android with a little narrative that actually originates with the birth of Google Android.

On November 5th, 2007 Google announced that they would NOT be releasing a gPhone but instead, had formed the Open Handset Alliance and Android, the world’s first truly open and complete mobile platform. Thirty-four companies joined together to form the OHA and Android history began.

One week later, Google announced $10 Million Dollars in prizes would be awarded in the Android Developer’s Challenge. The first Android SDK was released, allowing developers to dive in and get started learning the code that would enable the open source creation of their applications.

The concept of Android sparked the imagination of everyone from kids who wanted their phones to make cupcakes (no, not THAT cupcake) to mobile enthusiasts like us who speculated that mobile convergence had finally arrived. But the best insight would come from the Google Android team themselves, who explained their vision for the revolutionary platform:

Our early interest in Android garnered attention as the world’s first Android Dedicated news source – but disaster was just around the corner. A catastrophic hard drive failure and corrupted back up data blasted phandroid back into the stone ages. The collateral damage was epic and the site wouldn’t regain its footing until February 4th when we reported that HTC would be the Android Pioneer and release 3 Android Phones in 2008. Not completely right but pretty darn close.

Rumors began to swirl that Dell would make an Android Phone and soon after, an Alienware concept design surfaced that looked absolutely sick. That never materialized. Android was attracting serious interest from all types as MIT began offering Android Development Classes. Google then pushed back the ADC and a new SDK was released and before long there were 750,000 SDK downloads.

Alienware Android Phone

While HTC was the subject of most Android Phone discussion, Robert X. Cringely threw Samsung’s hat into the mix. Meanwhile, T-Mobile seemed to be creating a risk contingency program in a move that seemed to defy Google.

And then ZOMG!!! On March 6th, Andy Rubin gave the BBC a Video Overview of Android in action and we were nothing short of absolutely amazed.

That same day Apple released their SDK and we laughed in their face. Google laughed with us soon after, saying Android would outsell the iPhone.

That hasn’t happened yet, but it will eventually. We predicted that Verizon’s Dedication to Openness would be a huge help to Android and the 700MHz auction proved to be another game in the W column. But neither Vodafone or Verizon seemed to like Android very much. We speculated that Verizon WILL have an Android Phone at some point but for the timebeing settled for joining LiMo out of spite.

Then the clouds parted, and the heavens opened up as we learned the HTC Dream would be the first Android Phone. Although nothing Android popped up at CTIA we wondered why all the fuss about mobile apps? It IS all about the apps and as much as we love to hate the iPhone – we admitted that both platforms “get it” and will help eachother moving forward.

April 2008 was the month of the Android App as 1,788 submitted entries into the ADC! We joined in the application idea fun with obvious app ideas like AndroidTube and Android Coupons but the real brains were the ADC Round 1 Winners who were announced on May 10th 2008.

The excitement of all the amazing ADC entries kept us satisfied although HTC failed to unveil the Dream as hoped and Google and Verizon continued to feud. In June we gave an anxious sigh when we learned of a 4th quarter Android debut and others complained that meant it was “delayed” – a miscalculated accusation we tried to correct.

The summer was slow, mainly consisting of people arguing aimlessly about Android, but a credible rumor that pre-orders of the T-Mobile Android Phone would start September 17th sparked renewed interest. When the HTC Dream passed through the FCC on August 18th things really started pouring in: Pre-Sale details were leaked, the Dream got sized up and the G1 name and design drawings were both uncovered. At the end of August, live pics of the HTC Dream surfaced.

But the hardware dominated only part of August. Also near the end of the month Google made the HUGE announcement of the Android Market (to rival iPhone App Store), ADC Final Winners were announced and we did a little deductive reasoning on missing apps. Microsoft said “us too!” with SkyMarket but nobody really noticed.

September 2008 would become one of the biggest months in Android history after two Reuters reporters were informed of a special Android G1 Event in NYC on September 23rd. Although TechCrunch was tipped that the G1 would be launched on October 20th, September 23rd was spot on as we were invited to the live event!

Disaster seems to follow great news for me as I got Sarah Palin’ed just before heading to NYC. We attempted to Live Blog the event but it was a complete trainwreck. But I didn’t care, I had way too much fun covering the events and got a ton of great info. Among the best morsels:

A couple days later the T-Mobile G1 User Guide was leaked allowing us to dive into every little detail we may have missed. While HTC seemed triumphant, the remainder of September saw pessimistic Android news from Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG.

Blah! No time for Debbie Downers! The inevitable first unboxing pictures leaked and the G1 began to sell like hotcakes. Some idiot named the G1 a Top 5 Bust of the Year (in October, mind you) but awesome applications like the 100% Free Android iTunes Remote Control proved him blatantly wrong.

While Pre-Ordered G1’s began shipping on October 15th, we already had our review unit and shared our G1 Unboxing Pics and G1 Unboxing Video even going so far as to read you through the bedtime story otherwise known as the Android Market Terms Of Service. After doing a 10-Minute G1 overview, we reviewed a few sweet apps for your enjoyment such as:

A few complaints came in about the syncing android with GMail and the lack of Microsoft Exchange Support. We were too excited to care about the holes here and there, believing they would get patched up quickly in the open source environment. Our pure excitement made us the coolest G-Ones on the planet as we dropped that illmatic shiznit AKA G1 Love – the Android Rap Song:

Customers began receiving their G1s on October 20th and AndroidForums.com blew up in excitement. Forum members found interesting ways to show their Android love, for example… with the Droid-O-Lantern:

On October 22nd the T-Mobile G1 became available in stores and already an OTA update was on the way. The first T-Mobile G1 hit television sets and I posted an article about the G1 vs. BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone that sparked a debate/argument unrivaled by any other post on the site so far as emotional intensity/fury. What REALLY got people’s attention was Google’s announcement that they would add paid applications in January 2009.

A lesser read post I encourage everyone to check out is about Hop-On who are promising a mobile casino/gaming device based on Android. Sources across the web are covering it as if its news but all my reports revealed that Hop-On is/was run by Scam artists.

Sprint’s CEO took a moment to diss Google, a security flaw exposed Google and tricky app publishers seemed to be cheating Google. All those problems were alleviated and we were back to Android awesomeness, covering apps like Ringdroid which you can use to make your own ringtone:

While mostly everyone was loving their new Android, those without T-Mobile service wouldn’t get much help when ASUS announced an Android coming 1st Half of 2009 and Motorola delaying their phone until Christmas 2009.

But again, we were having fun with our G1 and refused to be bothered by things we couldn’t control. So we dove in and sponsored our first Android Application – Vote2008 by Votalizer. It was a fun excercise and I think most participants enjoyed it… not to mention G1 owners were absolutely RIGHT – they picked Obama to win overwhelmingly. And that wrapped up October.

Asians and Aussies had reason to cheer in November with an Android on the way. Huawei looked to release a 2009 Android and the existing Android’s got updated OTA. It was interesting to note that although it wouldn’t likely be updated to work, the G1 has multi-touch capabilities that were amputated.

And that brings us to December 2008, the last month of this year that is just 36 hours from being complete. A month that UK Android owners saw price drop after price drop, travellers saw their G1 bill do the opposite. Kogan announced the Agora Pro Android Phone and Google said psh, unlocked G1s for all – although I have yet to talk to a regular consumer who has purchased one.

December 9th was another big day for Android as Sony Ericsson, Vodafone, Garmin and others joined the OHA. News that SE would release an Android in Summer 2009 shot around the world wide web although some contested the date. It appears as if Sprint is getting on board with Android in 2009 as well. Heck, why not Samsung, too? Oh, and don’t leave Garmin out!

Android is poised to have a stellar 2009 with tons of manufacturers on-board, aiming to put out awesome devices around the world. With app developers on the brink of paid apps on the market we’re sure to see a huge influx of great software but Google isn’t relying solely on others to improve Android -they continue to make good on the promise of Open Source by planning a HUGE update to the Android OS called Cupcake.

The end of 2007 and 2008 was incredibly exciting yet only saw the release of one Android phone – the T-Mobile G1. And yet Android seems to have won over the majority of its critics who believe that as more manufacturers and carriers get on board, Android will become a dominant force in the mobile industry. There are enough on board right now, its just a matter of bringing those products and services to market.

We have a lot to look forward to in 2009…

Continue reading:




  • http://michang05.blogspot.com Mike

    nice review goodluck to Android and all devs!

  • http://ejbca.org/ Tomas

    I got a G1 from Google here in Sweden. Delivery was really fast, and the phone is really sweet. I wrote down how to configure it for Swedish provider Tele2 here http://blog.ejbca.org/2008/12/htc-g1-android-phone-and-tele2.html.

  • http://OrganizedFellow.com/ OrganizedFellow

    Just imagine … ALL THAT IN JUST TWO MONTHS SINCE G1 WAS RELEASED!

    Wow, amazing!
    I am still turning heads many places I go, people ask me about the phone.

    Much much brighter times lie ahead :)