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First Android phone with iPhone-like virtual keyboard debuts

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
HTC on Tuesday formally introduced "Magic," the first Android-powered handset to lack a physical keyboard in a bid to challenge the style of Apple's iPhone.

Due to turn up in Europe via Vodafone in the coming months, the Magic will be one of the first Android devices to run Google's Cupcake update, which provides a virtual keyboard as an alternative input method for phones with slide-out keyboards like the G1, and phones with no physical keyboard, like the new model.

"The HTC Magic embodies the compact style and sophistication for which HTC has come to be known, with the powerful and intuitive internet experience for which the Android platform was designed," said HTC president and chief executive Peter Chou. "We are proud of our partnership with Vodafone and excited about making the Android-powered HTC Magic available to Vodafone customers in Europe."

The handset will be a Vodafone exclusive in the U.K., Spain, Germany and France. It will be sold in Italy on a non-exclusive basis, but the identity of the alternative carriers has not been revealed.

Vodafone's enrollment in the Open Handset Alliance in late 2008 paved the way for the new phone, which lacks support for 3G in North America but could possibly be brought to the United States with EDGE on T-Mobile, as Electronista points out.

However, no plans for other countries aside from the five mentioned have actually been announced. Vodafone's U.K. website reports an April arrival date, and the carrier says it will be for sale in other markets it services "over the next few months."

The phone has a 3.2-inch HVGA touch screen display (slightly smaller than the iPhone's 3.5-inch) with accompanying trackball and navigation buttons. It also has a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and video support. Users can send their recorded video through email or MMS and upload directly to YouTube from the device, according to HTC.



The handset maker is also claiming 6.7 hours talk time on WCDMA or 7.5 hours on GSM. Other technologies include an internal GPS antenna, a 528MHz Qualcomm processor, and expandable memory via a microSD card. The Magic has 192MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM. In terms of footprint, the hardware is just slightly more compact than the iPhone in height, width and depth, and about 0.5 ounces lighter.

However, as seen in the embedded Gizmodo video below, the Magic is clearly thicker than the iPhone, conflicting with stated dimensions claiming the opposite. This may reflect differences between the demo model and the final shipping product, which will have a slightly different button arrangement and, if HTC's specifications are to be believed, a thinner profile. As it stands today, the iPhone is the thinner device.

A partner in the design consultancy firm Fjord told the Wall Street Journal that he believes the Magic will be the first phone to challenge the iPhone in style.

"The first G1 wasn't principally bad, but it was more of a development platform for the operating system," said Christian Lindholm. "This one is more of a proper Android product."



According to initial hands-on observations by Gizmodo, the software keyboard "felt cramped" on the smaller screen, and the way each key press is flashed on the opposite side of the device is "extremely distracting." (For example, pressing the "O" key will cause the letter "O" to quickly appear and disappear near the "Q" and "W" keys on the opposite side.) HTC says this is to prevent your finger from covering up key press feedback. On the iPhone, Apple handles the problem by making key presses "pop up" above your finger.

Despite these qualms, the gadget and technology blog concluded the Magic's physical beauty alone will "make many customers put up with the less-than-ideal software keyboard."

Pricing details are fuzzy, but according to Engadget, the price tag in Spain will run from 99 to 199 Euro ($125 to $251), depending on the contract. Vodafone says the phone will come free with some plans.

Unfortunately for those frustrated with this aspect of the T-Mobile G1, the HTC Magic will not be offered with a standard headphone jack and will require the use of an adapter to plug in headphones or earbuds.
post #2 of 34
192MB? wow, let me decide which album to put on it, it better be one I like listening to a lot.
post #3 of 34
Looks horrific. I saw the demo online by someone from HTC also... not impressed.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #4 of 34
A touchscreen device that ALSO needs a trackball (and associated bulk) is not a well-designed user experience. What makes using the iPhone great is that it tosses out the "mouse pointer" concept and creates a NEW way of interacting that's pure touch.
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by akf2000 View Post

192MB? wow, let me decide which album to put on it, it better be one I like listening to a lot.

You realize thats RAM right? The iPhone has 128MB iirc....
post #6 of 34
Nice attempt....but still not better than the almighty iPhone.

One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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One thought he was invincible... the other thought he could fly.

They were both wrong.

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post #7 of 34
Isn't that predictive text feature almost exactly the same as the one described in the iPhone patent? The drawing in the patent seems pretty much exactly the same as that screen.
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #8 of 34
"the Magic will be one of the first Android devices to run Google's Cupcake update"

Well, now they've lost the whole Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers crowd. Way to limit your consumer base.
post #9 of 34
Yet Another HTC Brick. Is that Magic in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

"The letters flash on the opposite side of the screen so we do not violate Apple's patented interface."

"We offer what everyone has been wanting: video recording. Of course this device is not available yet."
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

Nice attempt....but still not better than the almighty iPhone.

Well... its faster than the iPhones processor.. about the same RAM... Android OS definitely surpasses iPhone OS... so I am looking forward to more android phones. And with less lag than the iPhone. Even though this is an apple news site and the story attempts to take stabs at the Android phone I think it looks pretty cool. Read about it on a site that actually isn't apple based to get a less iPhone based review of the phone.
post #11 of 34
The lack of a 3.5mm headphone socket kills this phone in my eyes. I'm not a fan of HTC's industrial designs either, they always look cheap.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

Well... its faster than the iPhones processor.. about the same RAM...

Well, you need to remember this from the article
Quote:
(from the article)
Due to turn up in Europe via Vodafone in the coming months

You are comparing a product that does not exist yet with the 1 year old iPhone. In a few months, we can be fairly certian that the iPhone will have better specs...

Quote:
Android OS definitely surpasses iPhone OS...

Well, this remains to be seen. Do we even have any idea how the Andriod OS really works with a touchscreen phone? It is possible that the Android OS will blow away the iPhone OS, but to state it as fact is a little strange, at this stage of the game. We still need to see how the Android platform holds up when being used for dozens of hardware platforms...

Quote:
so I am looking forward to more android phones. And with less lag than the iPhone.

certainly, no one likes lag...
Quote:
Even though this is an apple news site and the story attempts to take stabs at the Android phone I think it looks pretty cool. Read about it on a site that actually isn't apple based to get a less iPhone based review of the phone.

Fair point. This is a partisan site, and the articles are written that way. Notice how this site has panned all the "iPhone killers" of the last two years? And they have all turned out so well...
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
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Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
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post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

Well... its faster than the iPhones processor.. about the same RAM... Android OS definitely surpasses iPhone OS...

Better how? Better because multitasking isn't disabled in the developer version of Android?

Quote:
so I am looking forward to more android phones. And with less lag than the iPhone.

I detected a bit of a lag in launching the video app. And you're comparing an unavailable device to a device that's 2+ years old from its "debut."
post #14 of 34
Its not about the hardware!
post #15 of 34
It seems like the more I see what everyone else has on the market, the happier I am with my iPhone.
13" macbook 2GHz Core Duo
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13" macbook 2GHz Core Duo
24" Imac Aluminum 2.8GHz
Macbook Air 1.6GHz (2nd iteration)
Airport Extreme
Airport Express
Apple TV 160GB
3G iPhone
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post #16 of 34
hmmm I wonder if it's popular enough to get Orange to cause a stink, somehow I doubt it!!!
iPad, Macbook Pro, iPhone, heck I even have iLife! :-)
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iPad, Macbook Pro, iPhone, heck I even have iLife! :-)
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post #17 of 34
Quote:
A partner in the design consultancy firm Fjord told the Wall Street Journal that he believes the Magic will be the first phone to challenge the iPhone in style.

How many times we've heard this before?!

"in style"?! It is basically G1 with glossy finish!!
post #18 of 34
Important thing for me is, can is sync using iSync?
It's the reason for me not to get a Windows Mobile phone for instance. Unless things changed and I am unaware of it.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

The lack of a 3.5mm headphone socket kills this phone in my eyes. I'm not a fan of HTC's industrial designs either, they always look cheap.

I like the design on this one much more than the G1. However, I can't understand why on earth these companies continue to omit such a basic, yet necessary feature as the 3.5mm headphone jack.. Like the lack of WIFI in other ''smart phones'', no 3.5mm means NO SALE.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by akf2000 View Post

192MB? wow, let me decide which album to put on it, it better be one I like listening to a lot.

The iPhone only has 128MB. What's your point?

With this one you'll have to buy a memory card for flash memory beyond 512MB, but they're cheap and upgradeable.

And I'm sure that the next iPhone in June will have 256MB of RAM, but that's not even been previewed yet.

This is shaping up to the the best iPhone alternative. After the joke of a release of Windows Mobile 6.5, you can see why HTC is moving towards Android for future devices. I would say that Android is less than a year behind the iPhone, software wise, and the hardware is now roughly equivalent - better in some areas even.
post #21 of 34
The BBC's take on it is pretty good::

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7895384.stm

No annoying voice on this one, and also shows the Palm Pre, and more of the features and interfaces of both than the linked video.
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Better how? Better because multitasking isn't disabled in the developer version of Android?



I detected a bit of a lag in launching the video app. And you're comparing an unavailable device to a device that's 2+ years old from its "debut."

I am comparing a device that is 1 year old (The iPhone 3G) with a device not available yet AND a device that has been out for 6 months (the G1) which is already less laggy than the iPhone. I can text message on the G1 without problem and I can make phone calls without them being dropped or taking forever to even connect.
post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hattig View Post

The BBC's take on it is pretty good::

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7895384.stm

No annoying voice on this one, and also shows the Palm Pre, and more of the features and interfaces of both than the linked video.

I love how the editor at the BBC cut off Ed Colligan as he was starting to respond to the question about Apple beating Palm to the market. "Not in this form factor --"!@#*(&(*!U

Guess Colligan didn't have a very good answer for that one.
post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

A touchscreen device that ALSO needs a trackball (and associated bulk) is not a well-designed user experience. What makes using the iPhone great is that it tosses out the "mouse pointer" concept and creates a NEW way of interacting that's pure touch.

Wow, The Onion was spot on in their parody of Apple fanbois who praise Apple for taking features AWAY from a phone instead of putting features INTO a phone.
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

Ste...
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post #25 of 34
True that.

Apple took away a physical keyboard. What other company would be stupid enough to do something that nobody wants like a virtual keyb... oh, wait...
post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

I am comparing a device that is 1 year old (The iPhone 3G) with a device not available yet AND a device that has been out for 6 months (the G1) which is already less laggy than the iPhone. I can text message on the G1 without problem and I can make phone calls without them being dropped or taking forever to even connect.

well one might assume you already own the G1, so why are you on an apple site when you should be on a G1/ Android site, where everyone will agree with you that "YES this new phone is SO great"? because it ain't happening here.

BTW millions of users can text and make calls on the iPhone, but then that is truth that goes against the propaganda that you want to peddle.
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

nagromme - According to Amazon: "SpongBob Typing Tutor" is outselling Windows
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I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

nagromme - According to Amazon: "SpongBob Typing Tutor" is outselling Windows
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post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Wow, The Onion was spot on in their parody of Apple fanbois who praise Apple for taking features AWAY from a phone instead of putting features INTO a phone.

why do you waste your time posting prigish comments all the time? is it a hobby, or were you bullied?
I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

nagromme - According to Amazon: "SpongBob Typing Tutor" is outselling Windows
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I don't see how an anti M$ stance can be seen as a bad thing on an Apple forum I really can't!

nagromme - According to Amazon: "SpongBob Typing Tutor" is outselling Windows
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post #28 of 34
i'm not one of those all out apple fanatic... i'm interested in that phone! i loved the iphone before... since everybody basically have the iphone, it lost that elegance
post #29 of 34
This competition is great. The Android and Palm Pre phones look awesome. The Palm Pre videos look really sweet and when I pull the trigger I might just get one over the iPhone. I actually like everything about the Pre better than the iPhone except for one thing and it's major. It's not iCal or native sync with OSX. But hey at least it has BT or WiFi sync. iPhone doesn't even have BT sync. Does it? The "cards" system is so much better than XP or OSX windows!!
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Wow, The Onion was spot on in their parody of Apple fanbois who praise Apple for taking features AWAY from a phone instead of putting features INTO a phone.

What is the point of having two totally redundant navigation implements on the same device? Or will you call me a "fanboi" for not saying it should have a d-pad as well as a trackball and touchscreen?
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by killamike View Post

i'm not one of those all out apple fanatic... i'm interested in that phone! i loved the iphone before... since everybody basically have the iphone, it lost that elegance

No, sorry, elegance (and sexiness and polish) isn't dependent upon the exclusivity or popularity of a device. I can't, however, speak to your sense of (artificial) prestige and vanity obtained from material possessions..
post #32 of 34
The android OS looks pretty decent and I am sure it will improve with each revision but come on, HTC make some seriously shit hardware. I have had 7 handsets manufactured by HTC and they all felt cheap and nasty.

I hope the other big mobile players get some decent kit out for Android.
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

No, sorry, elegance (and sexiness and polish) isn't dependent upon the exclusivity or popularity of a device. I can't, however, speak to your sense of (artificial) prestige and vanity obtained from material possessions..

I hope you don't work in marketing.

On a separate note, can anyone on these forums provide and objective remark? Ever?
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by beingnickb View Post

I hope you don't work in marketing.

On a separate note, can anyone on these forums provide and objective remark? Ever?

These forums consist of about 99% aple fanboys. So no.
(I am part of the 1% non-fanboys)
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