A brief history of Android phones

Three years ago, the Android OS was just a buzzword. But quite a few handsets later, it's a powerful force. CNET takes a look back at all the Android goodness that has come.

Almost three years after the birth of the T-Mobile G1, the world's first Android smartphone, we pause to take a look back at what the little green dude has given us. Sure, we've known that the OS has been very busy in the United States and around the world, but we really had no idea just how busy it was. And if we expanded the list beyond handsets not with U.S. carriers, it would be even longer.

Remember that it wasn't so long ago when Android was just a concept. And not long before that, the only android we knew was Data on "Star Trek." But now as its market share continues to grow and the OS has landed in the tablet space, Android has emerged as a powerhouse in the mobile space.

Editors' note: This list is current as of August 2, 2011. For brevity's sake, we've focused only on models previously or currently sold by U.S. carriers.

PhoneAvailability dateCarrierHighlightsOS version *
* At time of release  
T-Mobile G1
October 2008
T-MobileFirst-ever Android device; had quirky design elements like the swing-out keyboard and the "chin"1.0
T-Mobile MyTouch 3G
July 2009T-MobileFirst device with 1.5; debuted with Exchange support1.5 (Cupcake)
HTC Hero
October 2009SprintFirst CDMA Android phone; offered HTC Sense interface1.5
Samsung Moment
October 2009
SprintFirst Android handset with a slider design; lacked camera-editing options1.5
Motorola Cliq
October 2009T-MobileDebut of MotoBlur interface; first Motorola Android phone1.5
Motorola Droid
October 2009
Verizon WirelessFirst Verizon Android device, and first appearance of Eclair2.0 (Eclair)
HTC Droid Eris
November 2009
Verizon WirelessOne of the earliest phones to offer pinch-to-zoom multitouch; first under $100 price point1.5
Samsung Behold II
November 2009T-MobileUsed Samsung's TouchWiz interface and offered new media player; not upgradable past OS 1.61.5
HTC Nexus One
January 2010
T-MobileSold unlocked through Google's direct sales channel; first Android 2.1 phone2.1
Motorola Devour
February 2010Verizon WirelessFirst device that debuted with Donut; called the Droid's "little brother"1.6 (Donut)
Motorola Backflip
March 2010AT&TFirst AT&T Android phone; had awkward design with "Backtrack" feature on rear side1.5
Motorola Cliq XT
March 2010T-MobileUpgrade to the Cliq; replaced physical keyboard with virtual keyboard and Swype1.5
HTC Droid Incredible
April 2010Verizon Wireless"Blazingly fast" processor and loaded feature set; won CNET's Editors' Choice Award2.1
LG Ally
May 2010Verizon WirelessLG's Android debut in the United States; included LG Socialite app2.1
HTC Evo 4G
June 2010SprintFirst 4G phone in the United States; offers a mobile hot-spot feature and HDMI port2.1
MyTouch 3G Slide
June 2010T-MobileUpdate to original MyTouch 3G; featured T-Mobile's custom interface2.1
June 2010T-MobileRobust GPS integration; much improved over its G60 predecessor1.6
HTC Aria
June 2010AT&TBased on HD Mini design; like most AT&T Android phones, it didn't permit third-party app downloads2.1
Motorola Droid X
July 2010Verizon WirelessOffered broad multimedia features and revamped MotoBlur interface2.1
Motorola i1
July 2010Nextel; Boost MobileFirst Android device with iDEN, and first handset with a prepaid carrier1.5
Samsung Vibrant
July 2010T-MobilePart of the Samsung Galaxy S series; came with a full-length copy of "Avatar"2.1
Samsung Captivate
July 2010AT&TSecond Galaxy S phone; AT&T's best Android offering to date2.1
Samsung Acclaim
July 2010U.S. CellularFirst Android device for U.S. Cellular; positioned as a budget model2.1
Samsung Intercept
July 2010SprintNot compatible with Sprint's 4G network; positioned as a budget model2.1
Motorola Droid 2
August 2010Verizon WirelessSimilar to the Droid X but with a physical keyboard; first device to ship with Froyo2.2 (Froyo)
Samsung Epic 4G
August 2010SprintOnly Galaxy S phone to have physical keyboard; featured Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface2.1
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
August 2010AT&TSony Ericsson's first Android phone; featured company's Timescape feature and UXP interface1.6
HTC Desire
August 2010U.S. CellularBased on the Nexus One design; second U.S. Cellular phone2.1
Sanyo Zio
August 2010Cricket WirelessFirst Android device for Sanyo/Kyocera and first for Cricket Wireless1.6
Motorola Charm
September 2010T-MobileFeatured a square design with a roomy keybaord but a small, crowded display2.1
Samsung Fascinate
September 2010Verizon WirelessLast Galaxy S series phone for "big four" carriers; features Bing search and maps2.1
Dell Aero
September 2010AT&TDell's first Android phone, but that's about it1.5
T-Mobile G2
October 2010T-MobileUpdate to original G1; first T-Mobile phone built for carrier's HSPA+ network2.2
Samsung Transform
October 2010SprintFirst handset with Sprint ID feature2.1
Sanyo Zio
October 2010SprintFirst Android device for Sanyo/Kyocera; features Sprint ID2.1
Samsung Intercept
October 2010Virgin MobileFirst Virgin Mobile Android phone2.1
Motorola Flipout
October 2010AT&TSquare design with swivel opening2.1
Huawei Ascend
October 2010Cricket Wireless; Metro PCSHuawei's first Android phone for the U.S. market; display has nine-panel grid design2.1
HTC Wildfire
October 2010AlltelEntry-level device with bargain price2.1
Samsung Mesmerize
October 2010U.S. CellularPart of the Galaxy S series; featured Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface2.1
T-Mobile MyTouch 4G
November 2010T-MobileNext in MyTouch series; supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ network2.2
LG Optimus T
November 2010T-MobileFirst handset in LG's entry-level Optimus series2.2
Motorola Defy
November 2010T-MobileRugged design; features revamped MotoBlur interface2.1
LG Optimus S
November 2010SprintSprint's Optimus model; features Sprint ID2.2
Motorola Droid Pro
November 2010Verizon WirelessOffers enhanced security features for business users and a mobile hot spot2.2
Samsung Continuuim
November 2010Verizon WirelessPart of the Galaxy S series; features a second "ticker" display2.1
LG Vortex
November 2010Verizon WirelessPart of the Optimus series; features Bing search and maps2.2
Motorola Citrus
November 2010Verizon WirelessA beginner Android devices; features Bing search and maps2.1
Motorola Bravo
November 2010AT&TIncludes DLNA support; features revamped MotoBlur interface2.1
Motorola Flipside
November 2010AT&TSlider design with physical keyboard; features revamped MotoBlur interface2.1
T-Mobile Comet
November 2010T-MobileFree with a two-year contract; available with prepaid plans2.2
Motorola Droid 2 Global
November 2010Verizon WirelessSimilar to Droid 2, but with world-roaming capabilities2.2
LG Apex
November 2010U.S. CellularSimilar to Verizon's LG Ally; has a full physical keyboard2.1
LG Optimus M
November 2010MetroPCSFirst Android device for MetroPCS; part of the Optimus series2.2
LG Optimus U
December 2010U.S. CellularFree with a two-year contract; part of the Optimus series2.2
Samsung Nexus S
December 2010T-MobileFollow-up to Nexus One; delivers stock Android interface; sold unlocked; first device with Gingerbread2.3 (Gingerbread)
HTC Evo Shift 4G
January 2011SprintFollow-up to the HTC Evo 4G; compact design but includes a physical keyboard; cheaper than Sprint's previous 4G phones 2.2
Motorola Cliq 2
January 2011T-MobileUpdate to the first Cliq; has a larger displayand a redesigned keyboard2.2
LG Optimus V
February 2011Virgin MobileYet another model in the Optimus line; competitively priced without a contract2.2
HTC Inspire 4G
January 2011AT&T-MobileOffers a mobile hot spot and an excellent 8-megapixel camera; runs on the carrier's HSPA+ network2.2
Samsung Galaxy Indulge
February 2011MetroPCSPart of the Samsung Galaxy series; first Android phone for MetroPCS' LTE network2.2
Samsung Galaxy S 4G
February 2011T-MobileUpdate to Samsung Vibrant but with a larger battery; supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ network2.2
Motorola Atrix 4G
March 2011AT&THas a dual-core processor and support for the carrier's HSPA+ network; compatible with the Motorola Laptop Dock2.2
HTC ThunderBolt
March 2011Verizon WirelessSupports Verizon's 4G LTE network for incredible fast data speeds; can deliver simultaneous voice and data2.2
Kyocera Echo
April 2011SprintHas two screens that can combine to form one 4.7-inch display2.2
Samsung Gem
April 2011U.S. CellularBudget device with a compact design2.2
Samsung Sidekick 4G
April 2011T-MobileReinvents the Sidekick line with a familiar design and features; supports T-Mobile's HSPA+ network2.2
Samsung Galaxy Prevail
April 2011Boost MobileBoost Mobile's second Android phone; minimal features in an agreeable design2.2
T-Mobile G2X
April 2011T-MobileCNET Editor's Choice winner; has a dual-core processor; HSPA+ support and a sharp display2.2
HTC Droid Incredible 2
April 2011Verizon WirelessUpdate to Droid Incredible; offers world roaming2.2
Casio G'zOne Commando
May 2011Verizon WirelessSports a rugged design and a suite of applications for outdoor enthusiasts. 2.2
Samsung Droid Charge
May 2011Verizon WirelessA 4G LTE device with longer battery life than on the ThunderBolt. 2.2
Samsung Replenish
May 2011SprintMade from recycled and recyclable material. 2.2 Samsung Infuse 4G
May 2011AT&TMarketed as the thinnest smartphone available in the U.S.; supports AT&T's "4G" network. 2.2 Samsung Nexus S 4G
May 2011SprintSprint's version of the Nexus S adds WiMax support. 2.3 LG Phoenix
May 2011AT&T Another model in the Optimus line, the Phoenix is an entry-level device.2.2 LG Thrive
May 2011AT&TThe Thrive is identical to the Phoenix, though it's available only through AT&T's prepaid service. 2.2 Motorola Droid X2
May 2011Verizon WirelessFeatures a qHD display and a dual-core processor for faster performance. 2.2 Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
May 2011Verizon WirelessAs Sony's long-awaited "PlayStation phone," the Xperia Play integrates a phone and a gaming device.2.3 HTC Merge
June 2011U.S. CellularIncludes a SIM card slot for international roaming; has a bulky design. 2.2 LG Revolution VS910
June 2011Verizon WirelessVerizon's third LTE device has a great display and a 1GHz processor. Uses Bing instead of Google.2.2 HTC Sensation 4G
June 2011T-MobileCNET Editors' Choice winner; offers a loaded feature set and excellent performance.2.3 Pantech Crossover
June 2011AT&T/td> You'll find a physical keyboard, but only entry-level features. 2.2 HTC Evo 3D
June 2011SprintUpgrade to the HTC Evo; features a glasses-free 3D display and can capture 3D photos and video. 2.3Motorola XPRT
June 2011SprintLike the Droid Pro, it has a physical keyboard and enterprise-level security features. 2.2 Samsung Gravity Smart
June 2011T-MobileAn update to the Gravity T, it offers a physical keyboard and a slider design. 2.2 Samsung Dart T499
June 2011T-MobileThe definition of an entry-level smartphone, the Dart is free with service. 2.2 LG Genesis US760
July 2011U.S. CellularBased on the LG EnV series, the Genesis flips open to expose a full keyboard. 2.2 HTC Status
July 2011AT&TThe "Facebook phone" is hampered by a tiny landscape-oriented screen. 2.3 T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide
July 2011T-MobileSports an 8-megapixel camera with impressive multimedia performance. 2.3 Motorola Droid 3
July 2011Verizon WirelessDespite an improved keyboard, Gingerbread, a dual-core processor, and a better camera, it's not worth the upgrade.2.3 Huawei M835 Ideos
July 2011SprintRuns stock Andorid and is affordable, but may be too small for some users. 2.2 Motorola Titanium
July 2011SprintRuns on the iDEN network; supports Nextel's Direct Connect, but lacks 3G. 2.1 Motorola Triumph
July 2011Virgin MobileWith high-end features and zippy performance, it's Virgin Mobile's best Android phones to date. 2.2 Motorola Photon 4G
July 2011SprintSprint's answer to the Moto Atrix, the Photon 4G offers just about every feature you'd want plus support for a number of accessories. 2.3
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