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7 years ago

Interview with Ruslan Kogan, Why Agora is 2nd Android


You're looking at the face (well, TWO faces) of the next Android phone: the Kogan Agora from Down Under. Aussie Ruslan Kogan, founder of Kogan, gave some face time to Angus Kidman of at CES this past weekend to discuss the Agora phone and why it is coming in as the 2nd Android phone with no other contenders in sight, at least for a while.

According to Kogan, Android is a bit tricky to work with for hardware development and other manufacturing supply chains are not yet able to produce an Android phone - at least, not in time to catch up with Kogan's Agora. According to Kogan:

With Android, there's a lot of companies that have announced that they are developing for it, but it's only been a couple of months since the software's been made public.



To read more of APC's interview with Ruslan Kogan, just go here. If what Kogan says is true, it sounds like he was able to get a jump start on developing the Agora before everyone else, perhaps due to being smaller and more nimble in the marketplace. Of worthy note, Kogan plans on making the Agora available in the U.S. in as early as three months, so it will be nice to have an unlocked Android phone with an alternative form-factor to choose from. A special thanks goes out to Ryan for this news tip.


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7 years ago

Telstra Exec: New HTC Android Phones Better Than Palm Pre


We gave you our thoughts on the Palm Pre and webOS a few days ago detailing why we think Android is still the best smartphone platform in town. We did little to focus on the hardware aspect of Android smartphones because currently there's only one device and well, it's not the flashiest of the bunch.

So when a Telstra (Australian Carrier) Executive speaks up defending upcoming Android hardware designed by HTC, well, we shut up and listen. According to the Telstra Exec, HTC's upcoming Android device is "better and more functional" than the Palm Pre. Also, the new Android device (slated for a 2nd quarter release) is supposed to have custom software designed on top of Android and a screen bigger than any current HTC phone. Sounds amazing already.

If this report is to be believed, 2009 is already shaping up to be an amazing year for smartphones. If this fabled HTC Android Device can hit the market before the Palm out!

[smarthouse via Engadget]

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7 years ago

Motorola to Make Android Only Devices ? Bye, Bye Windows Mobile!


We've covered the whole Motorola saga here on Android Central ad nauseam. We know Motorola is going through a rough patch because they've had layoffs, they're losing appeal, marketshare, and so on. So we put two and two together and assumed that they would rush to make an early Android device to re-ignite their mobile division and shake up the industry as a whole. No such luck.

But here comes a report from PhoneScoop that Motorola is ditching Windows Mobile entirely and re-focusing their entire smartphone division to strictly Android. Huh!? We at Android Central have no complaints about that development but what took them so long to realize Android was their last chance at gaining back the customers they fumbled after the RAZR? Also in the report, Motorola is trimming down to about a dozen phones per year and won't be attending CTIA this year either.

What do you guys think? Will Motorola really leave Windows Mobile in the dust for the newer, shinier smartphone OS?

[via WMExperts]

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7 years ago

Round Robin: T-Mobile G1 Review & Final Impressions


It has been a long, long time since I've "officially" been back on the G1 and Android. In fact, the very first Round Robin post was nearly 2 months ago! But it's time to finally wrap things up and take a look back at the journey that was.

In this final Smartphone Round Robin article we'll take a look back at the T-Mobile G1 and Android and see how it compares to the other smartphone platforms and how it can improve. The G1 is such a new and unknown quantity that many of our editors overlooked it in the beginning, only to find it a lot better than they anticipated.

What's great about the Round Robin is that you get so many varying perspectives from different smartphone owners. An iPhone owner sits at a completely different vantage point than a Blackberry user, likewise with a Windows Mobile user, and so on. The great thing about the T-Mobile G1 is that it accommodates for users who are used to different smartphone platforms. A Blackberry user falls back on the trackball, an iPhone user feels comfortable with the touchscreen, some amount of tweaking is allowed for Windows Mobile, and a physical keyboard is included so no one complains. The T-Mobile G1 offers an almost non-biased user experience and everybody seemed to take to it pretty well.

So, is that a good thing? What does Android Central think about the T-Mobile G1 and Android after using all the other devices?

Also, this is the LAST Official Round Robin Contest Post, Comment to Win a T-Mobile G1 !— More Details Here

iPhone 3G


Honestly, any smartphone that releases will now be compared and sized up next to the iPhone 3G. It has become that widespread, that commonplace, and that good. We're huge fans of the iPhone 3G at AndroidCentral because its one of the easiest ecosystems to become a part of and the "it just works" feeling of it.

So why is the iPhone so successful and what can Android take from it? How did it become the smartphone that made smartphones matter? I think it boils down to the iPhone 3G's consistency in UI design, it made smartphones less "elitist" and more usable—you weren't overwhelmed by buttons, d-pads, trackballs, menus, keyboards etc. instead you used your finger. It wasn't intimidating to use, there was a minimal learning curve and everything stayed consistent. The screen layout from app to app is relatively similar, the settings aren't buried, and everything makes sense.

Luckily, the iPhone 3G is not perfect, far from it in fact. And even more important for Android is that the weaknesses of the iPhone platform are the purported strengths of Android. The features that are inexplicably missing from the iPhone are all on the roadmap for Android. The iPhone is shrouded in mystery while the Android remains open source. The benefit of pitting Android as the antithesis of the iPhone is that it opens the doors for developers who were spurned by Apple to come over to Android.

But don't think that Android will only get the crumbs of iPhone app development. Because Android has such allowances for their developers, Android will certainly pick up a lot of third party applications that push the envelope of innovation. I've already seen a lot of third party applications (Locale, chompSMS, Steel) that I wouldn't even dare of dreaming about on the iPhone.

The openness of Android directly contrasts with the iPhone's shroud of mystery and hopefully that can allow more developers to realize the potential of Android.


AT&T Fuze


The Fuze was my very first Windows Mobile device and though it was definitely frustrating at first, there are still some great aspects of Windows Mobile that Android can learn from.

In my original review of the AT&T Fuze, I had stated that I thought the most appropriate comparison for Android would be Windows Mobile because of the software-software link. The truth is, that's probably the only thing these two platforms have similar. Windows Mobile differs from Android in the sense that Windows Mobile main concern is all about power and access while Android provides alternatives.

But let's face it. What I'm jealous of Windows Mobile is the plethora of devices that they have. The promise of more Android mobile devices has yet to come to fruition and really, most specifics are being kept under wraps. I want the ability to choose form factors, to choose different makers, and to find a smartphone that fits my specific needs. Windows Mobile has some stellar hardware, no one can deny that, and if any of those devices ran Android, it could be a game changer.

On the flip side, I don't want Android to become Windows Mobile because though I'll never deny the fact that Windows Mobile is probably the most powerful and feature packed smartphone on the market, I don't think that's effective in this day and age.

To quote my original review:


Seeing the iPhone's success and the G1's potential, I think making a cleaner user interface that's easy to use, if not less intensive, is the way to swoon average users. Truthfully speaking, smartphones have been dumbed down in the past 2 years and made easier to use—even TouchFLO 3D is guilty of simplifying. For me, I would never be able to handle everything that Windows Mobile throws at you because honestly, I wouldn't know what to do with it.


Blackberry Bold


Let it be known: I'm absolutely in love with the Blackberry Bold's hardware. I think it's wonderfully built, the screen is absolutely gorgeous, and the keyboard is easy to learn. I believe that the Bold is very well on that top tier of smartphone hardware with the iPhone and well, that's saying a lot for a company whose main focus never was design.

I stick to what I said in my original review: the BBOS is the most limited smartphone platform and every other platform will soon lap it. But I can't deny the things that Blackberry does extraordinarily well. What I want from Blackberry is something similar to that "crack". Blackberry does such a great job at fostering a community that Blackberry users actually have a tangible reason (BBM, push e-mail) to stay on the platform.

To quote the review:


Think about it. For better or worse, every Blackberry user is inherently tied to another Blackberry user because of its use of NOCs and handling everything server-side. The average Blackberry user might not know it, but they're bundled up and bandied together. No other smartphone currently offers that type of communal feel and many just simply can't ever emulate that. The crack is real. Blackberrys have features that other phones don't and Blackberry Users have certain leniencies that Blackberry has allowed them, and to ask them to give it up? Yeah. Right.


Wouldn't it be cool if Android had an always-on, always connected Google Talk Application similar to BBM? It'd be a great way to create that same community feel. Even more so, the Google Talk users who use Google Talk on their desktops could even contact you directly—it could definitely improve on the limitations of BBM. Obviously, I'm uncertain of its technology possibilities but I'm sure giving away your Gmail username is a lot easier than memorizing your PIN.


Palm Treo Pro


The Palm Treo Pro is admittedly a stopgap device. But it's still a fully functional and powerful smartphone. After using the Treo Pro we became huge fans of the famed Treo one-handed use. Because of the limitations of a horizontal slider device, we can never efficiently use the G1 one handed. The hardware buttons on the Treo Pro are also a nice touch, which definitely add to its ability to be used one handed.

Other than that, the Treo Pro is a Windows Mobile device so it has the same strengths and limitations as the Fuze. Though Windows Mobile seemed a lot more comfortable on the Treo Pro, I still prefer the direction of Android over the power of Windows Mobile.


T-Mobile G1


So I guess to sum it all up: From the iPhone I hope for their developers. From Windows Mobile I want their phone hardware. From Blackberry I want the 'crack'. And from Palm I want the beautiful one-handed use. Not too much to ask, is it?

I think the most wonderful thing about the T-Mobile G1 and Android is its flexibility and even more importantly is its newness. Think about it, Android doesn't have a history weighing it down or an overly staunch user base demanding we keep things the way they were. Android has the ability to transform and morph into whatever it so chooses. There aren't round holes or square pegs here because everything is open source and the Android Market is so welcoming. Soon enough, developers will love to create applications for this platform.

But before Android gets those A-list developers on their platform they need to gain more users. They have to have more form factors on a variety of carriers. They have to build stunning hardware. Keep on building on their very capable OS. Perhaps add a community aspect to it.

What's amazing is that these aren't impossible tasks. We at Android Central aren't asking Android to change its stripes--just continue to evolve. By the time next year's Smartphone Round Robin hits, we could very well have all these new features on different types of hardware. That's why we think Android possesses the most potential out of all the smartphone platforms. That's why even after spending time with all of the other devices in the Smartphone Round Robin, we still are most excited to use the T-Mobile G1.

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7 years ago

Android Central on the Palm Pre, webOS, and Sprint


If you missed Palm's keynote yesterday, be sure to check out TreoCentral's coverage of all things Palm, Pre, and webOS! To quickly recap: Palm held their keynote showcasing their new device and platform. Here are Android Central's impressions on the events.

When word started spreading about a new Palm device and the Nova OS, we at Android Central ignored it—mostly because we only focus on Android happenings—but also because in recent years Palm has been just trudging along, barely innovating, and minimally surviving that it didn't warrant any extra attention. Our honest expectations of the Palm keynote? Announce a barely evolutionary device with another limited OS. Miss crucial opportunity. Everyone walks away disappointed. And then fade to obscurity.

Read on to see what happened and what Android Central thinks?

Suffice to say, that didn't happen. In fact, it was the exact opposite. Instead of the predicted eulogy of a keynote, we got a stunning showcase of innovation. Palm hit it out the proverbial ballpark and the industry just got a jolt sent through every platform: Android isn't polished enough. iPhone is too limited. Blackberry is outdated. Windows Mobile isn't as user friendly. Announcement: The smartphone market just gained a shiny, trusted & capable competitor. Welcome back to the mix, Palm.

But as surprised and as blown away as we were after the keynote (and trust us, we're still thinking about it) the fact of the matter is: the Palm Pre doesn't exist yet. It's certainly some great ideas packed in sleek looking devices but it's as good as vaporware on prototypes (okay maybe not that bad). But honestly, we don't know when it'll release, how good it'll really be, how much it'll cost, etc.

What if the Pre retails at $499? What if Sprint bleeds so much money that they'll no longer be able to support it? What if there are more hardware cracking issues? What if webOS is buggy? There are still a ton of questions still left about stability, development, execution and everything. We know it looks good, we don't know if it'll actually be good. Yes, Palm showcased a great product yesterday. But it didn't debut it and it didn't seem like they were anywhere near ready to debut it. It re-instills faith in the Palm faithful but should it stop you in believing in the Android movement? Definitely, no.

Whenever the Palm Pre releases, Android will have that much time to get better. If it's 3 months down the line, the Cupcake update would be on our G1 and we'll have countless third party apps. 6 months? 9 months? We'll be on Android's first birthday cake. Can you imagine the advancements and third party apps we'll get before the Pre even releases? Yeah, me neither. The Palm Pre simply challenges Android to get better and Android can certainly handle that.

The point is, yes, Palm announced a great product and platform in their keynote, but the battle for smartphone supremacy doesn't end there. This marks the beginning—it starts here. The keynote was a breath of fresh air in a slowly suffocating industry. But I'd worry more about Windows Mobile and Blackberry than I would Android. Android still has a desktop class operating system behind it, a growing community that develops innovative third party apps, the promise of multiple form factors, and of course, the open sourceness of it all.

So as impressed as we were with Palm, we're only excited about using it in the Smartphone Round Robin 2009—not to replace our G1's with. We still think the safest and best horse to bet on in this Smartphone Race is, and will always be, Android.

What did you guys think about the Palm Pre?

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7 years ago

CES 2009: GiiNii Movit Mini, Android Tablet Device


Imagine an Android Version of the iPod Touch. Make it a little bit bigger and you got the GiiNii Movit Mini, an Android Tablet that needs no data plan from any carrier to be fully functional. Here are the specs: 4.3 inch 480x272 resistive touchscreen (argh!), 256 MB Internal Memory, microSD slot, Bluetooth, Microphone/speaker, front facing camera, headset jack, mini USB, WiFi, and an onscreen keyboard (!).

There's a soft keyboard on the device so rumors are it's running the Cupcake update and reportedly the soft keyboard runs wonderfully well. The biggest downside? The resistive touchscreen which is no way near as good as the G1's capacitive touch. Either way, we'll be keeping a look out for more devices like this because though we're still not getting any phone announcements, more devices for Android is a good thing.

One last thing, the price is supposed to be $149 and there's a 7 inch model on the way. Nice. More pictures after the jump!



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7 years ago

CES 2009: NIMble Desktop Phone Runs Android OS


We're used to expecting Android Phones around these parts so when a new non-phone device pops up that's running Android...well you're definitely going to get some attention. The NIMble Desktop Phone, which runs Android, is a device meant for places like your Kitchen Countertop or Coffee Table. It's designed by Mark Hamblin who was a Product Design Lead of the original iPhone touchscreen and sports a 624 MHz Marvel Processor, 512 MB memory, SD card slot, 2MP camera, WiFi, Bluetooth (A2DP), etc.

The snapshot above shows some custom software that Touch Revolution (the name of the company) developed on top of Android. But no worries friends, the Android onboard is fully functional and ready to use. Pricing is currently at $300 or free with $10-$20 contract (not sure what that means, exactly). It's certainly cool to see Android pop up on different devices such as a desktop phone, but dude, where's our Android mobile phones?


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7 years ago

T-Mobile Sending G1 Owners A Survey, Precursor to Battery Replacements?


Google And Blog is reporting that T-Mobile G1 users are slowly receiving surveys regarding their G1 experience that ask specific questions regarding their satisfaction level with the device. A main focus of the survey deals with the subpar battery on the G1, so maybe T-Mobile is taking in data to see if the reported battery replacement program is necessary. Other issues touched on in the survey are Flash and Exchange support.

Seeing T-Mobile semi-acknowledge the weaknesses of the G1 and Android platform is definitely a good start. Seeing results would be even better. Did any of you guys receive the T-Mobile G1 survey?

[Google And Blog]

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7 years ago

Is Google Developing A Google Router?


According to SD Times sources, Google may be developing its own router. Why would Google be interested in doing this? Supposedly, Google is growing tired of the limitations in their current Jupiter Networks and believe that they could do a better job in providing enough bandwidth to accommodate their understandably massive data.

What does this mean? Well, not much for now. It's hard to imagine Google delving into the deep end with hardware routers but it would be interesting to see what the guys at Google can come up with in terms of ideas and technology on how to improve a rather stagnant market. For now, we'll just keep an eye out on this rumor and see what happens next.


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7 years ago

Skype Application in Android Market


The news that came out from CES 2009 was that Skype would soon be available for Android. The only question left was how soon? The wait was not long because it's available for download right now! So if you're a big Skype user you can go ahead and download Skype Lite in the Android Market right now!

Skype Lite marks the first native VoIP Client for Java and it should be available for other handsets as well. You'll still need to pay Skype to make calls with Skype Lite but messaging your contact list is done over your data connection.

Is anyone excited to see Skype on Android? What are other VoIP Applications you use?


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7 years ago

Android Central Is At CES 2009!


CES 2009. The biggest consumer electronics show of the year is happening as we speak and we forgot to tell you that we're there! We're on scene in Las Vegas, Nevada and covering as much Android news and sneak peeks as possible!

Editor in Chief Dieter Bohn has been keeping himself busy with keynote after keynote, but fear not, we'll be able to get our hands on Android devices very, very soon. So stay tuned to this space because Android is in the mind of a lot of people and we'll try to get you as much Android-related news, products, gossip, etc. as possible!

What do you guys want to see Android-related from CES 2009?

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7 years ago

FlyCast at CES, Coming to Android G1


If you are at CES in Las Vegas, drop on by the BlackBerry booth 36206, South Hall, for a demo of FlyCast. FlyCast is a FREE service for your mobile device that streams internet radio and talk radio. It currently supports BlackBerry, the iPhone, and iPod Touch, but according to Kim Hermanson of FlyCast, Android support is coming very soon!

There are numerous improvements coming to FlyCast, but in a nutshell, here are some notable ones:

  1. Android/G1 support! T-Mobile G1 users will soon be able to download FlyCast from the App Market. Check out some images of FlyCast in action right here.
  2. A desktop version of FlyCast for PC & MAC is available for download now. You can get it here.
  3. Updated program guide so you can see "What's On Now" and the ability to use StreamShift to join a broadcast at any point in the stream.
  4. Unlimited song-skipping for over 300 channels.
  5. Facebook Connect - log in with your Facebook ID and post your streams to your Facebook page.
  6. - FlyCast Main Guide supports an automatic link to your local weather.
  7. AAC+ and Windows Media Support.
Check out the press release for more detailed information about FlyCast enhancements. Thanks to Kim Hermanson of FlyCast for the information! [FlyCast]

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7 years ago

Video of Kogan Agora Android Device


Hot on the heels of some photos of the world's second Android phone, the Kogan Agora (as Ryan so aptly stated - thanks, Ryan!), we now have video of the Agora compliments of Gizmodo Australia via Kogan's PR agency. Mr. Kogan is at CES and hopefully we'll have a chance to rub elbows with him later this week and see if we can get a hands-on of the pre-production unit as featured in the video. Apparently the production units will be sans silver bezel and will be bordered in black instead. Good choice.

Although I'm a proud owner of the G1 and enjoy the screen real estate, I'm also a huge fan of a front-facing keyboard, even at the expense of a larger screen. The front-facing QWERTY usually equates to better one-handed operation and it will be interesting to see how one-handed Android can be on the Agora. If you had your druthers, which would it be? Slider or front-facing keyboard?

Thanks again for the tip, Ryan!

[Gizmodo Australia]

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7 years ago

New Pictures of the Kogan Agora, the World's Second Android Device


The Kogan Agora, if you didn't know, will be the world's Second Android Device and Australia's First Android Device. We've seen some revised digital product shots of the device before but this may be the first shots of the device in the "real life". And though it looks a little bit unwieldily, we're becoming huge fans of this phone. And though Kogan is unknown in these parts, it seems to be fairly reputable in its home base of Australia.

It definitely has a Motorola Q9h or Samsung Blackjack look to it and the keyboard seems to be expansive enough. The biggest question is probably going to be can the smaller screen accommodate a capacitive touchscreen? Either way, we're glad that Kogan is releasing an Android Device with a front facing QWERTY because more choices in Android form factor is always a good thing.

The Kogan Agora is supposed to be released by the end of January, so expect more news to be coming about the world's second Android Device!

[via Gizmodo AU]

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7 years ago

Girl Tattoos Android Robot Onto Her Wrist


We'll be the first to admit that the Android Robot is probably the cutest green robot we've ever seen. I mean, look at it! It's round, has plenty of character, and seems just so...friendly. But even we were surprised when we stumbled on a girl tattooing the Android Logo onto her wrist--cute green robot and all.

Her name is Natalie "Kommodore" Thompson and she's either the biggest fan of open source operating systems or just loved that green robot more than us. And hey, we don't have any problem with this kind of self-expression because come on, the Android Robot is certainly a better tattoo to get than the Storm on your ankle.

Anyone else have Android Tattoos they'd like to share?

[Myspace via Engadget]

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