Looking Back At The First Android Phone Released 10 Years Ago Today, The HTC Dream, AKA T-Mobile G1

android smartphones mark 10 year anniversary
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The Android phone was released just 10 years ago, and there are features from that first release that people still use. It’s incredible to think that the HTC Dream has morphed into a phone system that so many people use today. CNET took a look back at how the release of the Android phone changed everything.

Known as the T-Mobile G1 in the United States, the Dream had an inauspicious first launch. People didn’t like the keyboard and thought it was clunky. It was hard to type on, and there was no headphone jack or virtual keypad. But it did change the smartphone world forever.

The Dream was released on September 23, 2008, just a year after Apple released its first generation iPhone. The iPhone was a truly revolutionary phone experience, changing and perhaps defining the meaning of the word smartphone. While Apple introduced a clean, simple design and an intuitive layout, Android allowed users to customize their experience. Today, 85 percent of the world’s smartphones run on an Android operating system.

The phones had something iPhones didn’t: a better camera and the capability to copy and paste. These were huge for heavy smartphone users who needed to capture photos and write emails on their devices. They also allowed users the ability to customize their look, layout, homepage; users could even create their own apps.

The power of Google technology helped make Android phones so popular. Leon Neal / Getty Images

Unlike Apple, the HTC Dream launched with an app ecosystem already in place. iPhone users had to wait on the app store, but Android phones had the Android Market (now Google Play) all ready to go. This meant users could start buying and using apps right away.

Their app store also had looser restrictions, which meant for a wider variety of apps. This also meant that not every app was great, because the developers had varying level of skills. The phones did allow for a lot of streamlined use, as users who favored Google calendars, mapping, and email now had them in their pocket.

The advent of a new platform and smartphone device made for greater phones overall, as competitors need something to compete against in order to keep innovating. The HTC Dream paved the way for other, better Android phones.

Some of the most cherished improvements to the iPhone, like portrait mode settings for the camera, may have never happened without the HTC Dream and Google nudging them in the right direction. The first competitor has remained the biggest competitor.