Android is an operating system with a long history, and it’s ever-growing and changing. We tend to think of the HTC Dream, released in 2008, as the first Android phone, but that’s not the case, actually. The first Android smartphone was called the Google Sooner, and it was never released to the public.
The Google Sooner was a prototype phone
Back in 2005, the smartphone did not exist, MP3 players were still a thing, and Google made one of its most important acquisitions: Android. The company bought the software from Andy Rubin and then started development on a phone to use it. That purchase didn’t come a moment too soon, as, in two short years, the first iPhone would be announced.
So, why haven’t you heard about this phone? Well, it never launched to the public. The Sooner was merely a prototype phone used to test the fledgling Android software. This phone was kept behind closed doors.
It was a pretty standard-look device for the time
Looking at the Google Sooner (thanks to Android Central), you’d swear it was a final product, and it was a nice-looking device. It had a small screen with a resolution of 320 x 240 which added up to 76,800 pixels in all (for reference, a standard 1440p display has 3,686,400 pixels). The phone has a relatively blocky build, but it had rounded edges and a pretty thin profile.
As for the hardware, there was a physical keyboard under the screen, which was on par for the times. Between those, you had your D-pad with the home, SMS, back, Star, pick up call, and hang up call buttons.
In an ironic twist, there was a microSD card slot (seeing as the Pixel phones don’t have expandable storage). Also, there was 64MB of RAM and a modest 960mAh battery. Topping off the specs, the Google Sooner had a 1.3MP camera on board.
Then came HTC
In 2007, Google added HTC and T-Mobile to the Android project. They began working on an actual consumer product that could run Android. In 2008, the fruit of the companies’ labor came in the form of the HTC Dream, the first consumer Android phone. It shared a few attributes with the Google Sooner like the keyboard and the navigation buttons.
However, as for the keyboard, it didn’t sit on the outside as it did with the Sooner. Rather, it would be revealed by sliding the display up while holding it in landscape mode. The HTC Dream had 256MB of storage, 196MB of RAM, a 1150mAh battery, and a display with a resolution of 320 x 480.