HTC releases Magic Android to local market

Thousands of free apps a few clicks away with paid apps soon

The Android-based HTC Magic smartphone ditches the keyboard for a touchscreen

The Android-based HTC Magic smartphone ditches the keyboard for a touchscreen

A week after Vodafone and 3 announced their intentions to offer the Google Android-based HTC Magic smartphone, HTC has officially release the product, which ships in two configurations.

The Vodafone branded Magic will support over-the-air firmware updates, photo geo-tagging, and has 192MB of memory, while the HTC Magic to be offered by 3 requires updates to be delivered via PC, but includes a Microsoft Exchange client (push e-mail), a PDF viewer and 288MB of memory.

Minor differences between the two are eclipsed by the broader functionality shared by the Linux-based Android 1.5 “Cupcake” operating system which brings iPhone-like functionality, including Google Maps and Latitude, e-mail, IM, YouTube and the Android Market for thousands of third-party applications.

Google claims more than 3200 free applications for Android are available on the Android Market with paid applications “coming soon”.

Sales and marketing director at HTC Australia and New Zealand, Anthony Petts, said the company now has two Android-based (the G1 Dream was launched in February) touchscreen phones available locally, with another seven running Windows Mobile.

“HTC was a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance in 2007 as we knew an open source operating system would allow developers to leverage more of the device's functionality,” Petts said.

Petts said there have been many improvements with Android 1.5 like the ability to record video, automatic pairing with Bluetooth, and Webkit with Flash support.

“This is not meant to be replacement of the G1 and the Dream phone will continue to sell, rather the Magic is a fantastic addition to the HTC portfolio.”

The most notable difference being the Magic loses the physical qwerty keyboard for a software-based keyboard with auto-complete options.

Petts defined the Android and Windows Mobile audiences as being “more play than work” and “more work than play”, respectively.

“I use my Magic from seven o'clock in the morning to nine o'clock in the evening on a single change,” Petts said, adding the battery life is a little better in the Magic due to improvements in Cupcake.

With Vodafone and 3 set to merge, time will tell whether the two devices will morph into one offering.

The HTC Magic features a Qualcomm 528MHz processor, a 3.2-inch touchscreen, a 3.2 megapixel camera, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, a microSD cart slot, and a miniUSB audio jack.

Vodafone offer

Vodafone has announced today it will begin offering the HTC Magic in its stores on Monday June 15, 2009. Customers can register their interest at www.vodafone.com.au/htcmagic. No pricing has been announced yet.

3 offer

3 mobile announced the HTC Magic will be available free on its $99 cap and available in stores from mid June. Additionally, 3 is offering 50 per cent off all X-Series Ultimate packs for Internet access, and customers will have unlimited access to Facebook.

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