After acquiring Android Inc. in 2005, Google partnered with T-Mobile to launch its first-ever Android smartphone in the US and Europe. This new smartphone–slated to launch in 2008–would be Google’s first response to BlackBerry and the iPhone, which was released just the previous year. Google enlisted help to create a new brand for the phone that would be simple, expandable, while still linking back to the company.
Working with Google and T-Mobile via their agency Publicis, we were tasked with creating names for the new smartphone. After speaking with engineers, folks from T-Mobile and Google’s marketing departments, and an extensive global brand audit of existing and anticipated smartphones, we created a seemingly simple solution that addressed all their key criteria: The G1.
The G1 was announced in September of 2008 and went on sale the following month throughout North America and Europe. The phone, manufactured by HTC, was the foundation of the Android platform, which to this day remains the most popular smartphone OS. And, despite being at its infancy, the Android platform was well-received, with T-Mobile US announcing only 5 months later that the G1 had sold over 1,000,000 units, accounting for two-thirds of all the smartphone devices on its network. By the end of 2009, the G1 accounted for 6% of all smartphones in the US. The G1 was then succeeded by the G2 in late 2010, which built on the existing naming convention.