Android-based devices can now be discussed in the plural. Kogan Technologies has announced its Agora and Agora Pro mobile phones with the open-source mobile operating system will be available in Australia next month.
The Agora devices, which bear an uncanny physical resemblance to classic BlackBerry smartphones, will offer 3G connectivity, a 2.5-inch LCD, a 320x240-pixel touchscreen, a five-way central navigation key, a microSD slot, a QWERTY keyboard with backlighting, and Bluetooth 2.0.
Different Versions, Different Prices
Functions will include Google Search, Gmail, the YouTube video player, Google Maps, Google Talk, and Google Calendar, as well as support for a variety of video, audio and mail-attachment formats.
The Pro version also has a two-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi connectivity, and GPS. Kogan noted that the Pro version "will work on networks around the world, and is not restricted to customers in Australia and New Zealand."
The phone, due on the market Down Under on Jan. 29, can be preordered from Kogan's Web site. The standard Agora is priced at about $194, while the Pro version will cost about $399.
The first Android-based smartphone, T-Mobile's G1, has had a strong reception in the marketplace. New third-party applications are being released, and sales projections keep increasing. For instance, Peter Chou, CEO of G1 maker HTC, last month upped his sales projections to one million units by the end of this year. His previous prediction had been 600,000 units.
Some observers have suggested that the G1's appeal, in the U.S. at least, stems from the fact that it offers a high-end touchscreen with Google to T-Mobile customers, who are hungry for such a unique device. Others have suggested that Android is still a work in progress, since the third-party applications are still very limited in numbers and kinds.
Al Hilwa, program director at industry research firm IDC, thinks the enthusiasm in the third-party developer community is growing. A few months ago, there had been talk of that enthusiasm waning because the Android software development kit was buggy, there was no installed base of devices, and release plans for the devices were murky.
"But," Hilwa pointed out, "having an actual device or two in the market, and having good sales-projection numbers, puts to rest a lot of anxiety among developers about Android's adoption." He noted that we're beginning to see the mobile versions of some software, such as a recent flu-mapping application, appear first on an Android device.
Hilwa says that with the availability of third-party applications for Android devices and Apple's iPhones, among other high-performance mobile devices, plus the launching of netbooks and other small portable computers/phones -- such as Nokia's new N97 -- the transition to very small, multipurpose, high-end mobile-computing devices is gaining steam.