BARCELONA, Spain--While news from the Android front has been rather quiet here at Mobile World Congress, mobile network operator Vodafone announced it would be releasing the second "Google Phone," the HTC Magic, a smartphone powered by the search engine giant's mobile operating system Android.
The exclusive contract between handset maker HTC, which has been busy at MWC launching potential Apple iPhone killers, and Vodafone marks the second occasion an Android phone has been announced, the first being the G1, launched in September by HTC and offered exclusively by T-Mobile. Available in the spring, the Magic will be available in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and France, as well as Italy, though not exclusively through Vodafone.
"Delivering an unbeatable mobile Internet experience for our customers is a priority for Vodafone, so we are very excited to be introducing our first Android-powered smartphone in the spring," says Vodafone's global director of terminals Patrick Chomet. "Following our joining of the Open Handset Alliance, we have worked very closely with HTC to bring this cool new phone to the market. Our customers want to access a wide range of the most attractive mobile devices to help them make the most of their time - the HTC Magic helps meet that need."
The Magic is a tablet-style device that Vodafone says offers "unprecedented compactness" for an Android-based smartphone and provides the user with broad flexibility for personalization via the application-rich Android Market. Available in white in the United Kingdom, Spain and France, black in Germany and in both colors in Italy, Vodafone says the Magic will be for sale in several other markets over the next few months.
"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," says HTC president and CEO 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 Magic will be available for free depending on various price plans, Vodafone announced. It features a 3.2-inch QVGA touch screen display and features a trackball and navigational buttons. It also includes a variety of email options such as Google Mail, POP3 and IMAP as well as Google Talk for instant messaging. Internet capabilities come in the form of an Android-optimized Webkit browser preloaded with Google applications like Google Maps, Google Search and popular video hosting Web site YouTube.
"The announcement of the HTC Magic is an important step for Android and the Open Handset Alliance," says Google's senior director of mobile platforms Andy Rubin. "With it, Vodafone is opening up the mobile Web for consumers across Europe and giving more third-party developers a platform on which they can build the next wave of killer applications."