T-Mobile G1 Celebrates Its 4th Birthday (That’s 80 In Smartphone Years)


The T-Mobile G1 may not have been the beginning of your Android journey, but for those that that were some of the first people to experience the pure wonderment of the first device running the open Android operating system, it will always hold a special place in your heart. Which, I’ll admit — is a weird thing to say about an inanimate object like a smartphone.

The G1 may only be 4 years old, but it seems like a lifetime ago we were getting our chonies in a bunch over all new features like the software keyboard introduced in the first firmware update, Android 1.5 Cupcake.

Of course, the device’s claim to fame was its full 5-row QWERTY keyboard that was enough to make even a Sidekick blush. A far cry from the superphones you and I take for granted today, the HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1 also featured a meager 528MHz Qualcomm processor, 3.2-inch display, 192MB of RAM, 256MB of internal memory and a 1,150 mAh battery. Battery life was lacking, multitasking was a chore, and I can’t say I ever remember the phone ever being “fast.”

I, myself, didn’t happen upon the “Google Phone” until little more than a year after it was released (I wanted to wait for the Android Market to build up a strong catalog of apps), but once I did, it was all downhill from there. Didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the rooting/modding scene, where I attempted to shoehorn “Hero” ROMs (Sense) onto the device. It was fun, but hard life of dealing with swap partitions, and random bootloops — but it was so worth it. About a year and a half after owning the device (the longest smartphone relationship I’ve ever had), I finally laid her to rest, finding a new life with the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint.

I’m sure most of you have your own stories to share about the G1, the 1st Avenger Android phone. Just for fun, here’s a video from Phandroid’s own Rob Jackson getting his first hands-on ever with the T-Mobile G1 (pre-HD days). But before we go we just want to say, happy birthday, G1 — we’ll always remember you.

Anyone out there still have a G1 in their possession that’s currently in operation today? How’s she holding up. Tell her… I miss her.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

Kindle Fire HD now Amazon’s newest best-seller, OTA update brings Free-Time

Previous article

Samsung Chromebook Goes On Sale In The Play Store, Quickly Sells Out

Next article

You may also like


  1. Flashed a new ROM almost every night I had that phone. Longest I ever kept a smartphone for.

  2. Wow, only been four years? Seems longer… The smartphone industry certainly took off from here hasn’t it?

  3. I went from Motorola V950 to BlackBerry Curve 8330 to Samsung Moment in the span of a few months and once I got to Android, I never looked back.

    Moment, Epic 4G, Evo, Evo 3D, Epic 4G Touch, GS3.

  4. Yup! I have one in working condition.
    I bought it the first day it was sold. I have a lot of great memories with the OG.
    I have it as a backup just in case. Happy B-Day!!!!

  5. Who cares about this? Lets talk About that awesome iPhone 5

    1. lol

      1. Good to see someone has a sense of humor lol

        1. I trolled on the first LG Nexus post 2 weeks ago and got my head chopped off lol

        2. You should place [Sarcasm] next to your comment… maybe then people will get the sarcasm

          1. But its the iPhone. No one seriously likes that phone do they? Lol

  6. I remember my G1. Got it in June ’09 for $220 on eBay and fell in love with it (and Android) I remember flashing JesusFreke’s JacHero Rom on it. Aww the memories.

    1. hell yea!

    2. jesusfreke! god i remember his roms

  7. It’s my backup phone until I upgrade from my still perfectly adequate overclocked SGS rocking Jelly Bean…

  8. Did Phandroid exist before the G1? Or was it established same day…..

    1. I believe Rob started Phandroid and Android Forums after Android was announced.

    2. Here you go buddy. One year before the G1: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2007/11/android-already/

      Hint: This has always been on Phandroid’s About Page.

    3. My G1 is long gone. Mom needed a smartphone to use after her dumb phone died so I gave her the G1. Found out she wasn’t getting nearly the same battery life as her old dumb phone and ended up trading in the G1. Needless to say, a piece of me died on the inside when I learned I’d never see her (the phone, not my mother) again.

      1. You shouldn’t give up your mother so easy :P




    2. I agree – THAT was the original Nexus.

  10. I remember first ordering my G1 when t-mobile was offering its pre-order for the phone. I was 14 at the time and it was between this or the original iPhone. I’m 18 now and happy to say I’m Team Android since the very beginning. I have had the Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy, Mytouch 4g and now the Galaxy Nexus since then. (A lot of newspaper routes to pay for my tech obsession)

  11. I’ve still got mine. Its keyboard easiy bests my G2. I had a great experience with it, especially on CM. Thinking of selling it though.

    1. The G1? Don’t do it, man! Step back from the ledge, and put the G1 away…it’s family. Keep it warm, safe and dry for posterity.

  12. Only 4 years? Wow. I would think 5-6. It’s a shame now Android smartphones are becoming the size of suitcases.

  13. Anyone think that one of these is worth some money right now? Maybe later down the line?

    1. Later….much later. Like baseball cards.

  14. Nice video! Never liked Android before the S3 but looking back I see why it had such a fan base even when the iPhone was widely considered better (now there is a more even view)

  15. I have mine from the month it first released. Still fire it up now and then to throw the latest android version on it but haven’t used it as a phone since the 3g slide released

  16. Wow that is a long time ago. I remember when the Nexus One came out. Greatest phone of all time. To bad it had bad marketing. Live Wallpapers.

  17. I had it as soon as it came out

  18. Geez… 4 years since I got hooked on android and I still don’t have my first phone >_>

  19. Never getting rid of my G1. It’s safe and boxed up in its original packaging, not a scratch on it…I treated that thing like it was an infant.

    Long live the real and only OG, the Godfather, the G1!!

    1. Same here. Even though my G1’s battery is damaged I still have the phone in it’s original box and keeping it for life too since it is a collectors item being the very first Android device.

      1. Me too. I kept mine in pristine condition knowing some day it would be a museum piece. The only reason I got the G1 was to give a big F U to Apple.

    2. I still got my HTC Hero, up and running with Cyangenmod 7.. everything’s original on it..
      Kudos to HTC for making phones that last.

  20. The G1 started my Android obsession.

    The list:

    G1 (pre-ordered as soon as it was up for pre-order)
    Nexus One (pre-ordered as soon as it was up for pre-order)
    Evo (felt too big at the time with its 4.3 inch screen)
    MyTouch 4g (loved this phone but hated sense and the chrome strip)
    Nexus S (hated this phone at 1st but it grew on me like a wart)
    Galaxy Nexus (the best phone I’ve owned so far)

    Happy birthday G1! You led me on an android journey.

  21. I had read about the Android Eco system and the G1 during my first deployment. I let it go by the way side because I had a contract with Cingular at the time. When I got back from my deployment I went to the Cingular store to get my service turned back on and was wondering as to wth happened to the store. Orange blob dude stickers everywhere but AT&T on the front door. After some cliffnotes version of all the happenings in the tech world in the last year that I had missed i found myself hunting for a new device. Ended up with the LG Shine. No words can express how much of a piece of absolute CRAP this thing was. The phone itself was durable its just the menus and software itself were GARBAGE. Took so long to get anything done on the thing.

    I moved back home when I got out of the Army and at the behest of my brother switched to Tmobile as a carrier. I saw the MyTouch3g (white) had just been released that day and it was running the fabled Android OS. Took me less then a day to stumble upon XDA. My friends all had iphones at the time and the rift started to form. Every day i would show them some new neat stuff my device could do that theirs could not. I saw the envy grow more and more each day and my maniacal Mandark laugh was being perfected. Alas the time came when the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant was announced and I made the switch to that thing.

    To this day that was the most stable device I have ever owned. IMPOSSIBLE to brick due to ODIN and download mode :D Must have thrown every rom on the internet designed for that phone in mind on there. The MyTouch3G stayed in the drawer. During this period of time a friend of mine (former iphone user) came across a mint condition G1 and asked me what I could do to it. *Cue Mandark laugh with henchmen in background*. An hour later he was a now life long android fan.

    The rest of my family had gotten bitten by the bug as well and pretty soon i was getting requests from all over to “hack” their phones. I never touched anyone’s device without educating them that it was NOT hacking the device. I simply gave them SuperUser access to their OS. Same as when you go into administrator mode on your PC. You do it everyday without any hiccups once you know what you’re doing.

    Fast forward 18 months and I moved to my current device the HTC Sensation. I’ve played around with every Sense version, CM9/10, AOKPCB, MIUI, you name it & its probably ran it. I currently run Paranoid Android on it.

    Im looking forward to the next Nexus device. I have my Nexus 7 and love that thing. Im not a fan of the Galaxy Nexus or the new LG Nexus but I DO know that when the time comes for me to move on, it will be to a Nexus :)

    The MT3G still sits in the drawer. Its been the family backup phone for along time and she will continue to be in service for some time. And when the time comes to put her down…I will turn her ass into the thermostat controller on the wall :D

  22. I have this B.day notification in my calendar. I was going to be mad if I didn’t see a birthday wish from Phandroid. LoL!!

    But my 1st Android phone was the Nexus 1. I migrated from Windows 6.5 phones.

  23. They have them on eBay for less then 70 bucks right now.

  24. I got the G1 in November of ’08…2 years later the G2…1.5 years later the Galaxy Nexus. good phones.

    1. I think we are on the same time line. Looking back at the G2 however….It was not that great of a device.

  25. I remember getting my G1 a few days after if came out. Got a few of my friends into Android cuz of the Google Sky Maps app. Then I remember rooting it with the help of some guy with awesome hair who loves v-necks. I believe his name was… EmoGamer. I wonder what happened to that guy?

  26. Only 4 years huh… Seems like forever ago. I was working at a tmobile store and remember getting one a week before it launched. I went to go to the market and there was only one app. Damn how things have changed. Plus I don’t think I’ll ever be as exited as I was when I was waiting for donut and cupcake to come out. I spent hours flashing cyanogenmod mod and HTC Hero roms on that thing. If I only had a buck for every rom I’ve flashed since this guy launched. Happy bday t-mobile g1!!!

  27. MDA to preorder G1 Thanks to jesusfreke kept root this phone still looks brand new no scratches or cracks my S2 on the other hand has 3 cracks in the bezel.

  28. I saw someone on the street with one this week- I told em their phone sucked its 4 years old and they sed they don’t get the difference between a g1 and the new phones

  29. I’m trying to find one in perfect condition for a collectors item.

    1. Rob is bad.

  30. I always hated Apple. Ever since I tried to fix a computer called a mac as poor kid, I found out that unlike PC’s..These “macs” couldn’t be fixed at home. I bought the G1, and was a wizard. In a world full of iPhones and Blackberry’s..I had something different. I love the track ball, I loved the keyboard. It was a beautiful device, to be honest..my Galaxy S3 is faster, thinner and has a better screen..but functionally I could do 80% of my tasks on a G1 today.

  31. Man I loved my g1! Can we get another with a good battery nice screen and thinned out! Good specs I’ll b all over it!

  32. I went from some crappy flip phone to the G1 when it first came out. Of course I didn’t want to get an Iphone so I tried this out and I loved it. The keyboard still may be the best keyboard ever made on a cell phone. I remember one feature my phone seemed to lack no matter what I did… I could never watch videos on it :) If a friend with an Iphone was like “Oh, check this video out,” I would change the subject out of embarrassment and not wanting to admit my G1 couldn’t watch videos. I went from G1 –> Droid X –> Thunderbolt –> S3. I have loved all my Android phones, and I will never buy anything but Android from here on out. Oh Android market, how you have grown. I remember when there was just a couple hundred Aps!

  33. -The T-Mobile G1 may not have been the beginning of your Android journey,-

    Oh, but it have… I still sometimes pull it out of the closet to give it a quick refreshing run. And the apps I bought for it are still on my “first-to-install” list. Well, except Task Killer.

  34. Happy B-day. I ordered mine in the first hour the pre-order went up. Still have it as a backup and travel phone when going to Europe. I am still using the G2 now, but I gave up on waiting for the G3 (Hey TMO and HTC, why did you give up on us G-series lovers???). I have no idea yet, what phone to use next. No good keyboard phones at TMO anymore :-((

  35. Back in November 2008 the G1 changed how I saw phones forever. I have been using stock Android phones ever since.

  36. i got mine from t-mo 3 weeks earlier because i preordered. 10 minutes after putting in the simcard, making sure data was up and running and turning on the GPS, i have never looked back.

  37. I still have my white G1. I bought it the month after it came out and it still works too this day. My wife even used it for a while after I picked up the galaxy. Still runs, but is keeping our electronic junk drawr company.

  38. memories

  39. My dear old G1 Still have it in pristine condition except for the battery that pretty much died but as soon as I have a chance I will get a new battery for it. My very first android phone which kept me at stock android always cause after I bought the Nexus One and then my current Galaxy Nexus.

  40. I had never heard of it before. I was in training at the T-Mo call center and was attracted to it because it had awesome stuff you could download for free like Pac-Man and Throttlecopter and…. that’s about it.

    I jumped on it in Feb ’09 as I set up my employee plan and fell in love with it.

    I still remember when I downloaded the Cupcake and Donut updates before the OTA came out and felt like a genius.

    Read about rooting and CM and everything all the time for about 6 months before I took the plunge. I just KNEW I was going to brick it. When I discovered CM, it was all over.

  41. The G1 is my first and only mobile phone to date. It still works fine, but I use it only for the phone features. My Nexus 7 goes everywhere with me and is my mobile device of choice.

  42. I bought mine (white) when they first came out, then flipped to evo 4g then it’s been the galaxy note and waiting until the note2 comes out, loved my G1 have to buy one as a keepsake…….the smart phone the new antique lol

  43. my First Android

  44. I still have a G1 but dont use it. It is in perfect condition so I am scared to take her out of the box in case she gets a scratch! Its rooted (obviously) but very nice to still own one and have it hidden away in a drawer :)

  45. “Which, I’ll admit — is a weird thing to say about an inanimate object like a smartphone.”

    Research has actually suggested people are in love with their smartphones: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/opinion/you-love-your-iphone-literally.html?_r=0

    Yes, ours is a sad existence.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Handsets