New noncoherent sequence detection algorithms for combined demodulation and decoding of coded linear modulations transmitted over additive white Gaussian noise channels, possibly affected by intersymbol interference, are presented. Optimal sequence detection in the presence of a random rotation of the signal phase, assumed to be constant during the entire transmission, requires a receiver complexity exponentially increasing with the duration of the transmission. Based on proper approximations, simple suboptimal detection schemes based on the Viterbi algorithm are presented, whose performance approaches that of coherent detection. In a companion paper by Colavolpe and Raheli (see ibid., vol.47, no.9, p.1303-7, 1999), noncoherent sequence detection is extended to continuous phase modulations. In the proposed schemes, the tradeoff between complexity and performance is simply controlled by a parameter, referred to as implicit phase memory, and the number of states of a trellis diagram. Besides being realizable, these schemes have the convenient feature of allowing us to remove the constant phase assumption and encompass time-varying phase models. The proposed schemes compare favorably with other solutions previously proposed in the technical literature.