HTC Magic

HTC Magic clears FCC with T-Mobile USA branding

The HTC Magic has passed the FCC bearing T-Mobile USA branding, seemingly confirming that the touchscreen smartphone will be the second Android device the carrier offers in the US.  No official name has been attached to the Magic by T-Mobile - the original G1 was named by the carrier (HTC distribute the handset as the HTC Dream) and it seems likely the Magic will end up as the G2. Launched back at CTIA in February, as a Vodafone exclusive in Europe, HTC had already told Android Community that they would be happy to work with a US carrier.  A T-Mobile branded version of the device was then used in a Google demonstration, prematurely confirming the carrier's intentions. As for specifications, the Magic has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, WiFi and GPS.  For live photos and our demo videos from CTIA, head over here. [via Engadget]

HTC Magic gets zoom-wheel [Video]

In addition to the landscape QWERTY keyboard, HTC have added a new zoom control wheel to the HTC Magic smartphone.  Seemingly intended to offer more precise zooming without treading on Apple's pinch-and-spread patent toes, the wheel is called up with a double-tap. In the CNET France video below, you can see the zoom-wheel operated in both the HTC Magic's browser and its photo viewer.  Thanks to the compact size of the Magic itself, you could realistically control the wheel and hold the smartphone with a single hand, not something you can say the same about pinch-and-zoom. No word on whether this new zooming control feature will be offered to existing Android G1 owners, though of course the nature of the Android platform means that what Google/HTC don't offer officially, the open-source community will liberate themselves.  The HTC Magic is expected to arrive in various European countries in April 2009, price to be confirmed.   [gallery] [via Electricpig]

Samsung 3.5G Android phone in Q3 claim sources

The Samsung Android smartphone spotted earlier this week could reach the market in Q3 2009, according to market sources quoting leaked information from the company.  The phone is described as "similar to the HTC Magic" in design and hardware, which presumably means it will not have a hardware QWERTY keyboard. As with the HTC Magic, the unnamed Samsung Android smartphone will use a 3.5 Qualcomm chipset.  The Magic is expected to arrive in Q2 in Europe, and HTC have already committed to a further two Android-based devices in 2009. That's enough to convince many that HTC will maintain its lead in the Android segment.  Samsung is said to be "among the top-five handset vendors" to release their Android devices in 2009; Motorola is believed to be readying a significant Android range, potentially for launch as soon as Q2.

Android Community Week In Review: Week 10 2009

Big Android news this week was HTC's recently announced Magic handset getting official release windows on Vodafone UK and Orange France. Running Google's Android, the Magic will offer 3G internet, GPS, a slimmer form [than the current G1], and an on-screen keyboard for typing. Release dates are March 15th for Orange France and sometime in April for Vodafone UK. In case you're wanting to keep closer tabs on this bleak global economic state, Google has released an official app for Android to help you do just that. Google Finance is available in the Android Market now for the very appropriate price of $0.00, but only to users in the US. The software has limited stock market support (for now), though the major US indices are covered in near-real time. More companies are looking at Android as a new and powerful mobile OS for their upcoming devices. Acer has been surrounded by talks and comments regarding the possibility of Android powering their two forthcoming handsets. No concrete answer was given when asked directly if Android was the choice, but an OS other than Windows Mobile was said to definitely be in the cards. Still needing some feature bumps since its original debut in 2006, Road's S101 HandyPC is rumored to have switched gears from a Linux distro to Android as its OS of choice. Yuhua have also followed up their design of General Mobile's DLST1 handset with the Xphone-SDK concept. While only a concept at this point, the phone is limited to EDGE connectivity. Considering Android's dependence on 'cloud' computing, this may pose a problem with potential slow-downs. Potentially ground-shaking news is Android's perceived ability to give Apple's OS X Touch (iPhone) a run for its money by 2012. Industry analysts are predicting that current economic conditions paired with Android's non-commitment to a particular carrier or handset manufacturer will give it the extra boost it needs to catch up with Apple. Also considered was the fact that Smart phones have outsold notebook PCs for the first time ever, possibly signaling more powerful mobile platforms providing the majority of functionality that people need away from their desks. While OS X Touch is somewhat limited in its ability to multitask, Android can accomplish multiple things at once. This could also draw mobile professionals with the need to get more work done while on the go.

Vodafone HTC Magic April UK launch confirmed

A new page on Vodafone UK's site confirms that the HTC Magic will launch at some point during April 2009.  No pricing or specific launch dates are given, nor is there any way to preorder the Magic; instead would-be buyers can register for updates. The Vodafone HTC Magic has a 3.2-megapixel camera, HSDPA, integrated GPS and a full capacitive touchscreen.  Unlike the T-Mobile G1 it lacks a hardware keyboard; instead there's a new on-screen keyboard, which we first saw at Mobile World Congress last month. The upshot of that is the newly reduced bulk.  Unlike the sizable G1, the Vodafone HTC Magic measures 117 x 55 x 14 mm, and curved edges make it feel even smaller.  You can see our video demo and gallery of the HTC Magic here. [via Droideo]

HTC Magic poses with Arnie

With a sturdy chin like that, it can only be one phone - oh, and one Terminator-turned-governor holding it.  We're not entirely sure why, and we're not entirely sure how, but the PR team for HTC have managed to snap Arnold Schwarzenegger gleefully holding the new HTC Magic. The Magic - which is dwarfed in Arnie's hefty paws - is obviously one of the pre-production prototypes we saw at Mobile World Congress last month, as it has the old button design.  He seems particularly pleased with the new video player app, which unlike the T-Mobile G1 will come preinstalled on the HTC Magic. Honestly, this photo is calling out for a caption-competition.  I'm having to strongly resist all of the obvious puns.

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]

HTC Magic hands-on: Gallery and Video

You've seen the preliminary video, you've read the specs; now it's time for the motherload of HTC Magic information.  We sat down with HTC's digital communications manager, Eric Lin, to talk Android, Vodafone and all things Magic. In terms of the hardware, under the hood there's little different to the G1.  What HTC have tweaked is the software, which has made the capacitive touchscreen more responsive and the smartphone as a whole speedier.  The Android software stack itself has few differences, the most obvious being the new on-screen keyboard.  80-percent of the time the Magic is used in portrait orientation, and the keyboard won't work in landscape orientation aside from with apps - such as the browser - that force the Magic to rotate the display. There's also now native video recording and playback, rather than requiring users to add their own media software.  The former offers two quality levels, one for MMS and the other slightly higher, while the latter is integrated with the photo gallery.  As you can see from the gallery, content is organized by photos and video in general, and those shot by the Magic's own camera. Since the announced Magic handset is dual-band 3G/UMTS (900/2100MHz), I asked Eric whether HTC had any plans for a US-spec version or if their agreement with Vodafone prevented that.  According to him, the carrier exclusivity is limited to country, not global, and HTC would jump at the opportunity to adapt the Magic for the US should they be approached by one of the carriers.  We also clarified the handset's name: despite what many sites have reported, the HTC Magic is not the "G2".  HTC named the smartphone, and Vodafone decided to use that title, whereas T-Mobile chose to use their own name when they launched the G1 (hence the handset being available as the HTC Dream elsewhere). Eric also showed us a black version of the Magic, though we were not allowed to photograph or video it as it's not intended for production.  HTC decided it looked too similar to other smartphones, and wouldn't be distinctive enough.  It's a shame, as the black version looked even smaller than the white, and with its curved edges reminded us a little of the Pre. There's still no flash to accompany the 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera (which is the same as on the G1); according to Eric, that's down to HTC prioritizing the areas in which they can make the most effective improvements in the timescale available.  HTC recognize that, as a company that not long ago only dealt with enterprise hardware, they're playing catch-up on some consumer functionality such as imaging; they chose to finesse the existing hardware, particularly the white balancing, rather than introduce a flash which wouldn't be best taken advantage of. In the hand, the HTC Magic is deceptively light and, although all plastic, feels great.  It's an altogether more tactile device than the G1, in no small part because of the reduction in bulk and sleeker casing, though obviously we're yet to play with the final-production button design. Touchscreen responsiveness seems on a par with the iPhone, at least during our relatively short time with the Magic, and the reduced thickness and less pronounced "chin" angle make it more comfortable to hold than the G1. Overall, the Magic feels much more like a consumer-ready device than the T-Mobile G1 did at its launch.  That's partly down to the extra maturity of the Android platform itself, but it's also thanks to a more attractive, perhaps more considered design.  Whether it's actually consumer-ready in practice depends on the final tweaks HTC make before the Q2 launch, and how robust Google's latest updates to Android are.  We've certainly left MWC with high hopes about the HTC Magic. Video is also available in HD - click the menu in the lower right-hand corner [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEOspvaOmbk[/youtube] [gallery]

HTC Magic Android phone hands-on

We know we said that HTC weren't allowing live shots or video of the HTC Magic, but we couldn't leave it at that. Non-final hardware or not, we know you guys are as excited by the Magic as we are, and still want to see it. Hands-on, the HTC Magic is everything the G1 was not: thin and lightweight, with none of the bulk G1 owners have complained about.

It also has more RAM - 192MB - so it should run quicker and be able to multitask more comfortably than the G1. The on-screen keyboard - which is only available in portrait orientation, not landscape - has letters which pop-up when you press them, as on the iPhone, which makes text entry much easier.

In the non-final hardware we've played with, the key change are the hardware buttons on the HTC Magic's "chin" section. The prototype has thin, sliver-style keys running under the capacitive touchscreen, together with a single button ("Menu") to the left of the trackball. The final hardware will have four square keys under the screen, with functions switched around to leave call send/end on keys either side of the trackball. According to Vodafone Spain, the HTC Magic will be priced between 99 Euro and 199 Euro when it launches. Still no word on pricing outside of Spain, nor when the HTC Magic will be available in the US. We've got a full 1-on-1 hands-on session with the Vodafone HTC Magic tomorrow, so expect plenty more photos and footage after that! [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBbu_FR6XPU[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMSHbmCHT9E[/youtube][gallery]

Vodafone HTC Magic announced: second Android smartphone

HTC and Vodafone have officially announced the second Android-based smartphone, the HTC Magic.  Available exclusively on Vodafone in Europe, at least initially, the HTC Magic has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen running at 320 x 480 HVGA resolution and, unlike the T-Mobile G1, no hardware keyboard.  Instead, HTC have developed their own on-screen keyboard. The HTC Magic is based on the Qualcomm MSM7201a chipset running at 528MHz.  It has quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dualband HSPA/WCDMA (900/2100MHz) for up to 7.2Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink speeds, network depending.  In addition there's WiFi b/g, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and HTC's own ExtUSB port which incorporates both a USB 2.0 connection and an audio jack (with an included adapter to use standard 3.5mm headsets). Other specs include GPS - which works with Android's Google Maps and Street View - and a compass, plus a trackball with an enter button.  All the usual Android apps are onboard, with the Magic having 512MB ROM and 192MB RAM.  The smartphone measures 113 x 55 13.65mm and weighs 118.5g. As for availability, the Vodafone HTC Magic will initially be available in Germany, Spain and the UK, as well as non-exclusively in Italy, and with the SFR network in France.  No known pricing as yet, but given the nature of the European cellphone market we won't be surprised to see it free with a new contract. According to HTC, because of very last-minute hardware changes - including a change in the number of hardware buttons on the fascia - nobody will be permitted to take photos or video of the new HTC Magic.  However we'll be spending some 1-on-1 time with the device while at MWC, and will be able to bring you some early hands-on feedback, together with these official press shots. UPDATE: We're either very persuasive or HTC had a change of heart: live Vodafone HTC Magic shots here! [gallery]
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