Ten years ago today, I received my first Android phone, an HTC G1, from a US eBay seller.
Here it is, still working! It’s sitting on an Amazon Fire HD (stunningly good value) beside a Huawei Honor Play (a stand-in for my broken Galaxy S8+ and a fantastic phone at a crazy low price).
It’s hard to imagine now, but back then, Android was nowhere. The G1 was the first Android device and many thought it compared very badly to the equivalent iPhone. I disagreed. The OS was a bit rough but the hardware ate the iPhone 3G’s lunch. And I still have a soft spot for that janky keyboard.
I knew Android would be huge. It really was obvious that Google was going after this market hard. Whilst Nokia had 40%+ of the smartphone market at that point, even we fanbois knew they were dead-meat - the N97 for the love of god! A second new platform to compete against the iPhone was both natural and needed.
Of course I took that confidence in Android and ran before I could walk. In May 2009, I launched Ireland’s first Android App, LouderVoice. It sank without a trace. At that point, there were probably fewer than 2 million Android users in total worldwide, between the Droid and the Magic vs 60 million iPhones. But still, I’m proud of what we built. And we had enough sense to stay the hell away from J2ME and Symbian.
And here we are, ten years later, with 1.2 billion Android devices expected to ship this year!
We’ve come a long way baby.