Android is 5 years old today, and it sure doesn’t feel like it



If you were to randomly wake me up one day and tell me that today is Android’s (and the T-Mobile G1 that held the honors of being the very first Android device) 5th birthday, I’d ask you to slap me and call me silly. Has it really only been 5 years?

It felt so long ago that we were all huddled around our computers, wondering when the illustrious Cupcake (pictured right) and Donut updates would bring us magical new features like widgets, on-screen keyboards and voice controls. A lot has changed, folks, and Android is no longer an infant.

It’s grown into a fine, stable and beautiful mobile operating system that is used to power not just phones, but tablets, set-top boxes, watches, televisions, cars, cameras, home appliances and more. It’s everywhere and on everything, and it came that far in just 5 years.

We’re not sure if Android could have ever grown into the powerhouse it is today without Google, the company that took a chance on Andy Rubin’s big dream. While the original godfather of Android is no longer with that particular team, we’ll never forget his contribution to the mobile world. It was just as big as his stint at Danger (Sidekick) was, and whatever else he’s working on will likely have a fair shot at reaching those same heights.

Android is still striving without Rubin, though. It’s because of its maturation that Rubin was finally able to let go of the reigns and let the awesome team that has been built around Android continue the movement. It started with one device, and now has been activated on more than a billion worldwide (and that number is growing every single day). Here’s to many, many more.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. sometimes, I like to pull out my HTC mytouch 3g running android 1.5 and whisper “don’t listen to them, youre not that old. I’ll never leave you baby” and then I toss it at the wall after waiting 20 minutes to load a webpage(great phone and dev support tho)

    1. “don’t listen to them, youre not that old. I’ll never leave you baby” and then I then I toss it at the wall


  2. I can’t believe it’s 5 years. It’s been quite a fun ride.

  3. Started from the bottom(1.0) now we’re here.

    1. Best comment of the day…

  4. Happy B Day Android, is’t been fun, and cant wait to play around for many years to come =)

  5. Dang! Wish I had known, I would have rocked my G1 today.

    1. You still have it? It works? :O

      1. I still have mine and it still works.

      2. I still have all of my Android phones. As for whether it works or not…. about to try charging it up now and trying it out.

  6. Did you mean release date of G1. It was not until October 22nd. You might have got excited.

    1. I meant the day it was announced.

      1. Gotcha, I am gonna celebrate anyway on October 22nd as well!

  7. I started with Android 2.1 with the Huawei Ideos 7 . Updated to 2.2 , It was an awesom experience. Later on I get an Atrix 2 with Android 4.0.4, really really love how many things have changed and how smooth the UI ran. Now I have a LG nexus 4 with android 4.3, Loving it so far, I love Android for what it is today and many years to come.

  8. My Android History: T-Mobile G1 —> Samsung Galaxy Vibrant —> Galaxy Nexus (current) —> TBD

    1. Ooo!!

      Nexus One —> Samsung Galaxy Vibrant —> HTC G2 —> Samsung Galaxy S2: Epic 4G Touch —> HTC One

      1. MyTouch 3g>> Motorola cliq>> MyTouch 3g 2>> MyTouch 3g slide>> Samsung Vibrant>> LG G2x>> Nexus S>> Galaxy Nexus(back to G2x, last week)>> LG Nexus 5

    2. History is fun!
      T-Mobile G1 —> Nexus One —> Galaxy Nexus —> HTC One

  9. Still have my G1 sitting around at home. It doesn’t work, but it’s a nice commemorative. My HTC One still carries on the HTC name.

  10. I got my preorder on Oct 22 2008.

  11. I received my preorder on Oct 22 2008

  12. My co-worker’s parents owned a T-mo store so I got mine in the evening on October 21! Good times! That little slide out that started it all!!!

  13. I got my OG Droid November 2009. Feels like yesterday…..

  14. Looks like I’m not the only one with this on their Calendar. LoL!!

  15. My Android journey – HTC Desire, HTC Desire HD, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Nexus 4.

    1. ADP1 (G1), Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition.

      Still have the ADP1, Nexus S, N4, and GS4 GPE.

    2. Mine is HTC Evo 4g (got it like the first month it came out) > Samsung Epic 4g Touch > Nexus 7 (2012) > Nexus 7 (2013)

  16. Android copies everything from IOS interface. IOS7 is the best, and will be always the best selling for years to come.

    1. Uhm, iOS 7 is nothing but an Android 4.0 rip off. We are already on 4.3 loser

      1. IOS 7 is lightyears ahead of Android. Don’t make me laugh.

        1. You should be a comedian.

          1. Apple fans don’t have a sense of humor. They are programmed to accept anything Apple puts out, without question and tell each and every person they meet why they must buy an iPhone.

          2. Would never recommended to a person that loves plastic. Sorry.

          3. #1 comments on my facebook this week….. Ahhhhhhh downloaded ios7 to my 4s/5 lost all my contacts, phone won’t stop lagging, crashing, omg how do i go back.

            When my sister upgrade her iphone 4 (her company went iphone only) to iOS 5, the next day it drained a full battery in 20 minutes and melted the internals, apple was nice enough to “let” her buy a 4s at the subsidized price but only because she was one of dozens they’d seen that week, in that store. We’ve released a new update, it destroys your phone, so you can buy our new phone.

            Hey have you guys heard?
            iOS7 is 10 years old today.
            iOS7 changed colors!, because at apple we tell you what colors things are and you damn well like it.l

            i5C is amazing, it’s like an iphone 5 but made of plastic so the profit margin is higher! sidenote-apple’s margins far exceed any other smartphone manufacturer, i.e. you pay premium price, for cheap components
            another favorite 5s/5c sales vastly exceeded sales expectations (9 million)which recovered some of apple’s stock loss……except for the fact that analysts numbers didn’t include a china launch on starting day.

            This iphone is gorgeous feel it it’s so thin… a week later it’s either shattered not even cracked completely shattered or in an ugly inch thick otterbox.

            also fact – Iphone is not best selling

    2. Yes iOS is great for old people and trendy teens. I hope you got your awesome champagne colored iphone, that seems to be the only feature iphone users care about.

    3. lololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololololol

      nough said

      1. translation: I have no valid rebuttal.

      1. Calling thrashy the guy that buys plastic phones and cheap OS, nice try.

  17. So someone at the end of a two-year contract would have a device designed around a version at about half of Android’s lifetime. I hate two-year contracts.

    1. lol Droid 1–> Droid 4—> saving up without giving my grandfathered unlimited data for full price phone since I can’t get another verizon contract :(

  18. Since everybody else is doing it, my Android history…
    Phone: G1 -> Nexus One -> G2x (ugh!) -> Galaxy Nexus
    Tablet: Galaxy Tab 10.1 -> Nexus 7 (2012) -> Nexus 7 (2013)

    I’ve been a 1st day buyer on all of these devices except for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which I got refurbed. The G2x was the only real stumble along the road. On paper it sounded like a great device, but the implementation was nothing short of a huge headache. On the other hand, all of the Nexuses have been amazingly great. I’m especially impressed by the performance and the 4.5 day battery life from a single charge that I get on the new N7.

    Happy birthday, Android!

  19. What Android Manufacturers should do is focus in GPU more than CPU. I’m tired of listening every Android manufacturers are using Snapdragon Processors. Their Adreno sucks. For example the Adreno 320 is as strong as the Power vr SGX543 mp2(iPhone 4S). Fuq Qualcomm! I’m tired of listening that in USA only Qualcomm devices supports 4G LTE. I’m tired of listening that. And the iPhone what? They are using LTE without the necessity of Snapdragon processor. DA FUQ? That just sucks. I want the manufacturers to use strong Imagination Technologies GPU’s instead of the Qualcomm Adreno suckers and create their own ways for getting into the USA 4G LTE.

    1. The problem is, that no manufacturer uses the Tegra 4, which has the same GPU architecture as a GTX Titan and 780, after the horror of the Tegra 3. Android still has the best graphics thanks to the Nvidia Shield thank God. And im with you on the Qualcomm LTE stuff, here, the Octa Core S4 costs less than the LTE S4 on EE, and soon O2 and Vodafone, but is significantly worse in GPU performance and overall graphic performance with most games and less lag when showing 3D objects.

  20. When Android came out, I really didn’t understand it at all. I think I picked up a mid-range Android device once and was like “What is this?”…sadly, I must admit, I wanted an iPhone for a long time, I forego everything but a little flip phone to save up for one. Then two and a half years ago I met my boyfriend who worked at Sprint and who would not let me buy an iPhone. So I did some reading on Android, walked around Sprint and picked up the HTC EVO…didn’t know at the time it was one of the most popular Android phones but I fell in love, never looked back since.

    And since then I’ve had…a replacement EVO, an EVO 3D for like only 2 days, which I took back for my old EVO, then the Galaxy S2, then the S3. Almost bought the S4, but I hate the look of it compared to the S3 (the awkward looking bezel for one and the sides of the GS3 are much better to me)…so my history with Android is short compared to most here but it turned me into a smartphone geek and made me a lot more interested in technology as a whole.

  21. Do I have the most?
    Droid Eris
    Moto OG Droid
    Droid X
    VZW Galaxy Nexus
    GSM Galaxy Nexus
    LG Nexus 4
    Galaxy S4
    Moto X

    1. So you waste your money on crap, so what?

      1. Get a life no one here cares about your opinion don’t you see people reminiscing you’re like the kid at the party no one cares is there but is trying to get attention

        1. Seems like I got your attention just know. Buy Iphone and you’ll feel better.

          1. I’m very interested in technology if I felt an iPhone was worth checking out I would have one I mean I have a Nokia 1020 next to me why because they made more innovation with the camera in that phone than the iPhone has since it’s release

          2. iphone = Innovation.

          3. If that’s what you have to tell yourself to sleep at night. I hope you enjoy your new iOS 7 and the features copied from Android. I know I have been enjoying those features for several years now.

            Apple = copying someone else’s innovation.

          4. I always sleep like a baby. Unlike you that is always looking for android updates, and even when you get it and resolves one problem. you dance in joy when android is so full of problems. Android = FAIL OS

          5. Don’t feed the trolls guys.

          6. What are these problems you speak of? My S3 works great. I don’t look for updates nor do I really care when and if I get one. At least when I do get one it’s a full update. Not some crap update with a bunch of features stripped out like what the iPhone 4 and ipad 2 got. For example either you have 100% of Android 4.2 or you don’t have it at all. iOS just fragments their OS to make their numbers look good.

    2. I got you beat with 13 but glad to see I’m not the only crazy one :-)

      1. Some of we app devs have 20 or more, for testing, and all deductible business expenses. Fragmentation ya know… :)

  22. I think an updated G1 would be nice. Let HTC design the hardware, Motorola include the radios, LG with the screen, Sony with the cameras and Samsung with the software. Google will optimize all components and voila! (I know that this will not happen but it is nice to wonder.)

  23. G1 – > Samsung vibrant – >nexus one-> Htc evo – > lg g2x – > Htc sensation – > Htc amaze – > galaxy nexus – > gs3 – > Htc one (still have) – > gs4 white – > gs4 red and lg g2 my new work horse needless to say I’ve been supporting Oh yeah and the Motorola xoom and the Asus transformer and the nexus 7 for tablets

  24. My inventory:
    G1/Dream, Nexus One, Nexus S, Gnex, Nexus 4 Nexus 7 HSPA, Nexus 10, and the Nexus 7 LTE on it’s way

    1. if this inventory is true then you are a hardcore Nexus/Android fan

      1. Oh it’s true. And yup I’m a huge Nexus fan. Some people collect coins, stamps, bugs. I collect Nexus. All I’m missing is the Q, not that it works anymore, but I still want one.

  25. and just thinking, we are barely going into K, wait until we are X,Y,Z!!! Then what? lol Android FTW

  26. Would have been a nice circle to announce the Nexus 5 and KitKat today. Can’t believe they missed that opportunity.

  27. Well heres a Canadians list while were at it I can’t let you guys have all the fun
    Motorola quench, galaxy s2 hd lte, GN1,S3,GN2,ZL, THEN HTC ONE FTW!

  28. I had the G1, HTC sensation , galaxy S 4g , Galaxy nexus, Galaxy S3 ,nexus 4 and currently Sony xperia Z and hopefully next galaxy note 3

  29. My evolution: G1 -> Nexus S -> Transformer Prime -> Note 2. I remember the G1 blew my mind when it updated itself for the first time. I had never seen a device that could snap photos update itself and suddenly be capable of recording videos too. That was so inspiring! And it really illustrated how things were going to be with technology going forward. http://gigaom.com/2009/05/30/first-clips-and-screen-shots-g1-gets-video-recording-through-android-update/

    Side note, Ray Kurzweil / singularity projections seem right on using this litmus test, the Note 3 will be recording 8,847,360 pixels per frame to the G1’s 101,376 pixels; about 87 times better and just about right if it’s exponential progress that’s been made over the last 4-5 years.

  30. Google acquired Android for $50 million on August 7, 2005. One of the most stellar corporate acquisitions in tech history.

  31. i stumbled across my droid 1 last week she was dusty in a drawe, and i brushed her off and charged her ip honestly i don’t think ill ever own a more solidly built phone in my life, that thing is carved from marble. if i smashed it and a current gen smartphone the new phones would lose in a bloody battle of dent cracks and snaps, while the droid 1 laughed in its plastic face (even the htc1s aluminum would quiver in dented pain) try this with your phone, press the tip of your thumb as hard as u can on the glass, does the glass bend and the pixels turn a funny color? not on a droid 1 they dont

    1. Droid 1 and Droid Incredible… probably two of the best Android phones ever. Back when being on Verizon was considered a good thing :)

  32. Oh man how the time flies. I still remember back in 2009 when the hype began for the Moto Droid. Good times, good times

    Android history: HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Droid (the phone that put android on the map), Droid X, Galaxy Nexus, and how the Galaxy S3 (which I’m laying to rest this week…upgrade time)

    1. My first phone was the HTC G2, then the Nexus S, then Galaxy Nexus, then Nexus 4, and being English, never tried the Droid, how was it?

  33. Motorola CLIQ XT > myTouch 3g slide > G2 > myTouch 4G > Sensation > Galaxy S3

  34. HTC G1 > Samsung Moment > HTC Evo Shift > HTC EVO > HTC EVO 4g LTE……. Samsung Galaxy Note 3!!!! the good ole days!

  35. HTC Touch HD (dual boot) -> HTC Desire HD -> Samsung S3
    In between, experience with Huawei X5, Sony X10, Sony Arc S, Vodafone Glam II, Sony Xperia U and ZTE Blade.

  36. 5 years of lagging. I just can’t wait for more problems in the future! Everyone should just switch to iphone. The best and best selling smartphone in the world.

    1. nice b8 m8

      1. what bait? I’m being serious here.

        1. I appreciate what you did there. If you are serious well I am sorry you are willing to see that android has become superior to IOS is every way.

    2. 2/10

      Best I can give you.

  37. HTC G1>Droid Eris> Motorola Droid>HTC Amaze>????

  38. HTC Desire HD > Galaxy S3 > Nexus 4

    Nexus devices are awesome!!

  39. Galaxy S2 => ? :)

  40. Motorola Milestone > Galaxy S > Galaxy Nexus > Nexus 4 > Galaxy S4

  41. HTC Inspire > Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket > S3 > S4… Next is the Nexus 5!

  42. Jumped off the sinking ship known as Blackberry and, after debating between an iPhone and an Android device, I settled on the:
    HTC EVO. I absolutely fell in love! Awesome phone and loved the adroid system.
    Got the next gen EVO then switched to the
    Samsung Galaxy S2 on a friend’s advice. LOVE LOVE LOVE the Galaxy.
    Upgraded to the GS3 and that’s where I’m at now.

    I’m due to upgrade oct of 14 and I’m switching to the Note. I’m hoping the Note 4 will be on the market by then. If not, I’ll be happy with the Note 3.

    Don’t suppose anyone has heard any rumors about the Note 4?

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