This story was originally published and last updated .
Android's been around quite a while at this point (Google's Android turned 12 last year), and even Android phones have been around well over a decade now. And while obviously hardware like the HTC Hero matters in terms of where the platform got its start, and ones like the original Moto DROID mark its real entry into the marketplace in a big way, we think there are phones (and even A tablet) that are less remembered or less appreciated for their impact on the larger ecosystem.
After, when's the last time you thought of the Galaxy S2, or the HTC One M7?
For a company that's been on a years-long downhill toboggan, HTC still has hopes of playing catch-up in 2020. There's a 5G phone in the works, we're tracking another entry in the budget-minded Desire series, and now, for some reason, we're looking at some AirPod clones.
HTC isn't quite dead yet, but the company has seemingly given up on releasing flagship phones. HTC's last high-end device was 2018's Exodus 1, which itself was a slightly-tweaked HTC U12+, but there have been a handful of Desire and Wildfire-branded budget phones released since then. Now it seems yet another mid-range phone is on the way.
Hardcore Android fans and those with a good memory may remember that the HTC G1/Dream wasn't actually the very first Android device. There was another phone that Google used internally during the platform's development, which was codenamed "Sooner." It was ultimately dropped in favor of the HTC Dream's design, which was Android's first shipping, consumer-facing product, but Sooner technically predates it. And if you'd like to get your hands on one, a small pile of them just appeared on eBay for $200 each.
HTC hasn't released a new flagship smartphone since the poorly-designed U12+ in mid-2018, and the company's most recent budget device was last year's Exodus 1s (which shipped with Android Oreo). HTC doesn't seem to be done with phones quite yet, as it plans to produce a 5G device sometime this year.
Earlier this month, HTC tweeted that its U11, U11+, and U12+ phones would be getting updated to Android 9 Pie this spring, beginning with the U11 before the end of May. The manufacturer is making good on its word, as Pie has starting hitting U11 devices — months after it landed on the cheaper U11 Life.
There hasn't been much news from HTC about new phones this year, besides some budget models. The company did confirm earlier this year that it would develop a new version of its 'Exodus' blockchain phone, which was itself a slightly-modified U12+. That new device is finally real, and it's... something.
HTC has been slow to update its phones to Android 9 Pie, and there have even been stumbles along the way. The Pie rollout for the U12+ began last month in HTC's home country of Taiwan, and now the update has started to arrive on US models.