Google I/O swag through the years

A look back at the 5-year-old practice of handing out major hardware at Google I/O

Stuff we all get

Google's annual I/O developer conference has been happening for six years now, and the company's been doling out cool gadgets to attendees for five. It's not a universally admired practice, by any means, but it's certainly a good generator of hype -- tickets now sell out in a matter of seconds. Here's a look back at the history of Google I/O swag.

HTC Magic
Credit: Wikipedia
Google Ion, a.k.a HTC Magic (2009)

The first gizmo handed out to I/O attendees was a developer phone that packed a 3.2-inch screen, a trackball (!) and ran Android 1.5.

Credit: Wikipedia
HTC EVO 4G (2010)

The (at the time) powerful EVO 4G was dished out at I/O 2010, showing off the latest Android 2.1 software and impressive hardware specs.

Samsung Galaxy Tab
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (2011)

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 was one of Google's three major gifts to attendees at I/O 2011. The tablet featured nice hardware and, unfortunately, Android Version 3.1 (the infamous Honeycomb).

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Samsung Series 5 Chromebook (2011)

In case the tablet wasn't cool enough for you, Google also gave I/O 2011 guests an early production Chromebook, also made by Samsung. You know, just because. Oh, and they also gave out a free mobile hotspot from Verizon.

Nexus 7
Credit: Google Play
Nexus 7 (2012)

Here's where things started to get a little nuts -- the brand-new Nexus 7 tablet was part of the gift bag in 2012, showing off Version 4.1 of Android (Jelly Bean), which was released at the show. That same software was present on the Galaxy Nexus smartphone that was also handed out.

Nexus Q
Credit: AnandTech
Nexus Q (2012)

As if the smartphone and the tablet weren't enough, Google gave out the Nexus Q -- an odd Android-based digital media hub, designed to connect to a user's home entertainment system and play music and YouTube videos while being controlled by an Android smartphone. (Google quickly stopped selling it.)

Chromebook Pixel
Credit: Google
Chromebook Pixel (2013)

While the company's opted to hand out just one device this year, instead of last year's three, that one is a doozy -- the Chromebook Pixel is essentially Google's version of a MacBook, packing high-end hardware, a gorgeous display and Chrome OS.