Android has been very popular among the developers, particularly those who are recently joining the world of software development. There are several reasons for this popularity but the biggest of them all is the open source nature of Android platform. Developers have a lot of flexibility and facilities while developing software and applications for Android based mobile devices. While these applications can be tested on simple Android Smartphones, more advanced developers tend to use Android Dev Phones, which is being considered an advanced version of an Android Smartphone.
Basically Android Dev Phones have all the facilities that are available to the users of a common Smartphone. But the main difference is that those phones have their hardware and SIM unlocked since they need it for advanced software and application development. Although there is generally much flexibility when it comes to simple Android based phones and a common developer can develop application on that phone, but a Dev phone has a lot more to offer.
To start with, SIM unlocking means that the developer would not have to go through the hassle of working under a contract with some particular carrier. The developer would also not need to renew his or her contract at regular intervals. This would provide the advantages of an unlocked device, since Dev phone is also hardware unlocked. Due to this, anyone who possesses this phone would be able to enjoy the device with any carrier and at any place in the world. The developer would also not need to pay additional roaming charges and would be able to use the device at nominal rates. This gives a developer a lot more freedom to indulge in the process of development.
The history of Android dev phones goes back to 2008 when Google had initially started supporting Android for mobile devices. Soon after the release of the operating system for the mobile devices, dev phones for developers were also manufactured and Google announced the first Dev phone in late 2010. This phone was basically a modified version of HTC dream.
Other than being able to use this device with any GSM carrier, the developer also has the freedom of using custom Android builds that would work with the unlocked boot-loader. The boot-loader on common Smartphones enforces signed system images which is certainly a hindrance in the path of development with complete freedom. On a dev phone, there is no such problem and this restriction is not enforced.
Google has openly announced that since the operation of the device, at times, might need manual configuration, it is not an appropriate device for non developer common users. Although common users can buy and use the device at their own risk, however to purchase the device, it is mandatory for the user to register himself or herself as an Android developer on the Android app website.
This registration costs one time $25 and the cost of the phone happens to be $399. Other than SIM and hardware unlocking facility, other technical specifications such as processor, operating system, camera and internal memory for the device is quite similar to other usual Smartphones.