Kogan return: Agora will launch after redesign [Video]

Kogan made waves last year with their Agora smartphones, which at the time were promised to be the second commercially available Android-based handsets.  That didn't pan out, and back in January Kogan confirmed that the Agora and Agora Pro were "delayed indefinitely".

Now Kogan is back, with founder Ruslan Kogan claiming that their new model will be more like the Apple iPhone in design, with a large 3.8-inch touchscreen for Android to roam freely across.  Midnight Update's Seamus has interviewed Kogan (you can see the video below), who insists that the device will hit the market and, after that, gets to play with an Agora prototype to confirm that it actually exists in more than just renders. Of course, the phone in the video doesn't have a 3.8-inch display, so we're still in a position of not seeing a functional prototype of what Kogan are talking about releasing.  As an aside, this is a pretty frustrating demo video; was it Kogan's mandate that it had to be shot outside, in the dark, with no lighting? [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0[/youtube] [via Gadgetell]

Google Developer G1 loses paid-app access

Google has blocked access to paid Android applications to the very people who most likely would have vested interest in accessing them: developers using the officially-sanctioned unlocked G1.  Google released the Developer version of the G1 back in December 2008, priced at $399, making it available to anybody willing to pay the $25 developers' registration fee.

As well as being SIM unlocked, the Developer G1 is also hardware unlocked, giving access to the root folders usually off-limits to consumer G1 handsets.  That's where the paid-apps issue comes in: such applications are saved to a private folder on the G1, inaccessible to regular owners but not to developers, rather than encrypted with any sort of DRM.  That would allow users to copy the files and store them elsewhere, take advantage of the 24hr refund policy in the Android Market, and then replace the files from the backup to use the software again.  Google's preventative stance appears to be based on the possibility that the Developer G1 could be used to spread pirated copies of paid-apps. Bizarrely, though, it means that developers behind paid-apps are unable to even see their own software in the Market.  Meanwhile, unofficially unlocked T-Mobile G1 handsets are capable both of browsing paid-apps and accessing their supposedly-private files.  Google is yet to officially comment on the situation, aside from confirming that the change in policy was a recent one.

Android open-source is just ‘marketing’ claims Symbian Foundation

If you thought open-source meant one big happy community, joining hands no matter the platform, think again.  Google's Rich Miner has called the Symbian Foundation "misleading" in their openness, after Symbian Foundation director Lee Williams described Android's "open source" credentials as simply marketing. According to Williams, who heads the newly-formed Symbian Foundation tasked with creating one unified platform out of the various proprietary Symbian OSes, Android is at its heart a Google project and not one led by the community.
"Android is not open. It's a marketing label. It's controlled by Google. It's a pretty label but I don't think the use of Linux is synonymous with open and they may have made that mistake of assuming it is" Lee Williams, director, Symbian Foundation
Meanwhile Miner, who co-founded Android and is currently Google's VP of mobile, has dismissed claims, highlighting the fact that Google have not kept back any technology within the mobile platform from their competitors.  As for the Symbian Foundation's own open-source position, Miner points to the annual membership fee - $1,500 - required to join the Foundation, and as well as the fact that membership isn't open to individuals:
"If you're talking about a platform and the source code isn't completely available for that platform, I would say it's misleading to call that platform open" Rich Miner, VP of mobile, Google
Symbian Foundation is to be the OS for a number of handsets announced at Mobile World Congress last week, including the Sony Ericsson Idou.

Huawei making Android smartphones for Q3 T-Mobile launch?

Having promised a Q3 2009 launch for their Android-based smartphone, Chinese manufacturer Huawei have apparently announced a deal with T-Mobile to supply the carrier with a number of devices using Google's open-source platform.  The first Huawei Android handsets will begin shipping in Q3, and we're assuming that the prototype they exhibited at Mobile World Congress last week will be among the first to arrive. According to the news, Huawei are making devices - not only Android based - using HSDPA, EV-DO and TD-SCDMA technologies.  All the Android handsets are believed to have touchscreens, though it's unclear whether they'll be T-Mobile branded or carry the Huawei name. What we still don't know is where the handsets might launch and what specifications each will have.  We're waiting to hear back from T-Mobile with an official comment on the Huawei announcement. [via SlashGear]

Android Community Week In Review: Week 8 2009

The Android platform finally got entrance of paid applications into the market this week, which many believe will finally give Android the edge it needs to compete with other smart phones. Purchase and payment takes place through Google Checkout. Of note, purchases can be "returned" within 24 hours of purchase (not of install) for a refund, something that the iPhone's App Store doesn't allow. Reports are that the paid apps have been trickling into users' Market apps over the past week, though availability at this time is limited to the US. Also being reported is that the Android Developer phones (identical to the G1 in functionality) do not have access to paid apps copy-protected apps from the market. The reasoning for this is not known at this time, and some users of these phones are still able to access paid apps copy-protected apps.

Improved T-Mobile Unlimited Voice Plans Live In SanFran

Chalk one up to the rumor mill today, for long-term San Francisco T-Mobile customers are now eligible for the improved Unlimited Voice plans we got wind of earlier this week. Unlimited voice minutes including cell coverage across the entire country is available for just $49.99, additional lines $39.99.

T-Mobile G2 (US-spec HTC Magic) outed by Google?

Google took to the stage to unveil GMail's offline functionality this week, but may have inadvertently announced something else, too: the T-Mobile G2.  Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering, used the new HTC Magic to demonstrate the app, but rather than Vodafone branding the handset he brought out had T-Mobile's logo. Currently, the only announced version of the HTC Magic is Vodafone's exclusive European deal.  However HTC told Android Community at MWC this week that their deal with Vodafone only covers country-by-country availability, and that if a US carrier approached them regarding a version of the Magic tailored for US 3G they'd jump at the opportunity. This new branding certainly seems to suggest that rather than being a question of when a US carrier will pick up the HTC Magic, it's more a question of when T-Mobile USA will announce their sequel to the G1.  For the video of Gundotra's demonstration, click here. [via AC forums]

T-Mobile G1 eats some Cupcake: Video demo

With the furore over the HTC Magic, T-Mobile G1 owners might be wondering whether the halo has shifted from their original QWERTY handset to this new HTC usurper.  While the external hardware is obviously significantly altered, under the hood it's a case of different software, not different components, the most obvious being the new on-screen QWERTY keyboard.  Over at Geek.com they've been playing around with the latest Cupcake build of the Android OS on the G1, and have shot video of not only the keyboard but the Linux shell and the game Snake. Somewhat worryingly, tester Brian Jepson reports that the on-screen 'board proved trickier than expected, describing it as difficult to use one-handed and "definitely a bit buggy" .  The former is hopefully a symptom of the G1 form-factor - as you can see from our gallery, the Magic is considerably thinner and more hand-friendly than the G1 - whereas we can only assume that tweaking in some extra stability is top of HTC's priorities before the Magic's Q2 2009 launch. Still, it only crashed when trying to use the video app - which, when we saw it demonstrated on the HTC Magic, didn't encounter any problems - and generally felt stable.  Check out the video for all the details. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfXHEMPfm0Q[/youtube] [gallery]

Week-old Android build demoed on TI uber-dev-device

Texas Instruments were demonstrating their Zoom OMAP34x-II Mobile Development Platform at Mobile World Congress this week, and among the software was a very recent build of Android.  In fact, according to the TI staff, the Android build they're running is only a week old.

The Zoom is intended for developers interested in coding for the OMAP3 chipset, and has a 4.1-inch capacitive touchscreen running at WVGA resolution, HDMI out, WiFi and optional 3G, together with 16GB of storage plus an SD card slot, a QWERTY keypad and an 8-megapixel camera.  TI will happily sell them to consumers, too, though you'll need deep pockets: the WiFi-only version is priced at $1,150 while the 3G-equipped Zoom comes in at $1,399. We asked TI whether they had forked from the standard Android build, and they were at pains to say no; they've been feeding back in their code developments to the Open Handset Alliance.  Check out the demo video, which shows just how well the TI Zoom runs the Google OS. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kgCaASk1yc[/youtube] [gallery]
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