We already told you that 12 years ago this very day, Apple launched the iPhone. June 29th also marks the 10th anniversary of another important smartphone launch; on this date in 2009, Samsung launched the Galaxy. The phone had been unveiled in April and was released just ten days after Apple started selling the iPhone 3GS. It also was released before the November 2009 launch of the Motorola DROID. The latter, with Android 2.0 installed, really started the whole Android phenomenon.
Samsung had originally responded to the iPhone by producing the Samsung Instinct, a feature phone with a 3.1-inch touchscreen. The company spent a ton of money marketing the device and produced several ads where the Instinct went up directly against the iPhone. But in reality, it was no contest. A few months later, the Windows Mobile powered Samsung Omnia was released with an interesting optical mouse, a stylus and the TouchWiz UI. After the T-Mobile G1 introduced Android to the world followed by the HTC Magic, Samsung decided to give this new-fangled operating system a chance by putting out the Samsung Galaxy (GT-i7500) handset. The phone worked with GSM carriers and could be used on T-Mobile’s 3G network and AT&T’s 2G pipeline in the states.
The Galaxy was equipped with a 3.2-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 320 x 480. It came with a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7200A processor under the hood along with 128GB of memory and 8GB of expandable storage (it also had a 32GB microSD slot). A 5MP rear camera adorned the back of the unit while the 1500mAh battery kept the lights on. Samsung made sure that a 3.5mm earphone jack was on board, and Android 1.5 Cupcake was pre-installed. The phone was not only Samsung’s first Android phone, it was the first time the operating system was employed on a phone manufactured by one of the top three manufacturers at the time (Nokia and BlackBerry being the other two). The Galaxy featured pre-installed apps like Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar, and Google Talk. It also came with the Android Market. Instead of the trackball found on the two previous Android models, the Samsung Galaxy had a D-Pad under the screen.
The Samsung Galaxy S II really launched Samsung as a top smartphone manufacturer in the touchscreen era
Of course, the phone pales compared to the current Samsung Galaxy S10 line. And in case you were wondering, the first Galaxy S model was released nearly a year later, on June 2nd, 2010. This is one of the models that Apple cited often as infringing on its design patents for the “home button, rounded corners, on-screen icons, and tapered edges” during its epic patent trial against Samsung in 2012. The jury also found that Samsung had infringed on iPhone features like the Bounce-Back Effect, On-screen Navigation and Tap To Zoom. Apple originally was awarded over $1 billion, but over the years the amount was reduced sharply.
The Samsung Galaxy, launched ten years ago today
Samsung really saw its smartphone business take off with the launch of the Galaxy S II in April 2011. At a time when Apple was keeping the iPhone screen at 3.5-inches, Samsung put a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display on the handset with a 480 x 800 resolution. It also supported 4G, something the iPhone 4 did not do. Sporting a plastic build (a hallmark of the line until 2015’s Galaxy S6), the phone had an 8MP rear-facing camera with a 2MP snapper in front for what was known as self-portraits in the day. By the time Samsung followed up with the Samsung Galaxy S III (released May 2012), it was on the way to becoming the top smartphone manufacturer for the year, a position it has held to this day. Apple and Samsung typically dominate the list of the top-selling smartphones every year.
It is amazing how far Samsung has come when you think about this year’s Galaxy S10 line. And the entire Galaxy started with a Big Bang that happened 10 years ago today.