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Second Google Android Phone Revealed 176

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the probably-will-give-you-cancer dept.
KrispyDroid writes "The world's second Google Android phone has been unveiled — by an Australian-based electronics company called Kogan. It will ship worldwide on Jan 29. It looks like a surprisingly nice form factor, not unlike a Blackberry Bold. The phones will be sold without a contract at low prices — $A299 ($US192)."
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Second Google Android Phone Revealed

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  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:20PM (#25990951) Homepage
    For all the hype that Android was to be an open platform, there's no sign yet of a phone that is completely hackable by the end user. The docs are out there, such as The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development [amazon.com] , so we could see a utopia of community-driven apps, but it seems like Google is uninterested in the end user's extendibility of the platform, which was supposedly it's raison d'etre.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...so we could see a utopia of community-driven apps, but it seems like Google is uninterested in the end user's extendibility of the platform, which was supposedly it's raison d'etre.

      How is it Google's fault that developers aren't embracing the platform? It seems like that's the developers doing.
    • by Eli Gottlieb (917758) <[eligottlieb] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:24PM (#25991027) Homepage Journal

      If you want something completely open, you can run Trolltech's Qtopia on the latest Openmoko hardware.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Microlith (54737)

        If the openmoko hardware was worth a damn, then maybe.

        It's OK if you don't care for fast data, or being able to reliably make phone calls.

        • I thought the inability to make phone calls was a software issue.

          • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:19PM (#25991915)

            It is.

            Unfortunately the software stack written by the openmoko guys is (and it pains me to say this) in a total shambles, and until very recently the developers basically refused to do anything about it, preferring to "look to the future" and make shiny bells and whistles. I'm watching the android software on OM very carefully because it seems to me that when the porting is finished (and it's got a decent way there, it runs and makes calls) it'll turn the OM into a decent phone.

            Yes, there are problems - no camera, no 3G - but it's interesting from a linux-geek perspective at the moment.

            • Right, that's what I thought. I figured it was OK if you ran Qtopia instead of the OpenMoko distribution, but the GGP claims that the OpenMoko hardware makes it unreliable at making phone calls.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Nursie (632944)

                Nah, it's just poor software as far as I can tell. The infuriating thing about the 2008.X stack (for me) was that the UI was unresponsive so that when you hit "pick up" it would take a while to register the button press. In the mean time I don't know if it's registered it or not so I hit it again. But then the hang up button appears in the same place and it's stored up the mouse click to apply to that...

                Could have killed that damn phone right then.

                • by chill (34294)

                  Oh, man. That one continually shoots my blood pressure thru the roof. It does the same thing on QTopia.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Goaway (82658)

            And you're not allowed to complain about it if you aren't going to fix it by yourself!

            • by geeklawyer (85727)

              And you're not allowed to complain about it if you aren't going to fix it by yourself!

              I guess you're new to Open Source ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem is that Android is "tivoizable" and this was actually done on the HTC+TMobile product, making it no more interesting than the iPhone. Until we get a phone that doesn't use any code signing, nobody is going to be very interested in the product, because it's merely an iPhone competitor (and the iPhone has Apple's sexy marketing behind it, so you might as well just develop for that and make more money).

      If this doesn't use any code signing, then this might be the beginning of Android getting seri

    • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:32PM (#25991163)

      I have an openmoko freerunner running android, so IMHO that's the second android phone, though it's not on sale with android preinstalled yet, and not everything is working.

      New image today - check out the Openmoko community discussion forum/mail list.

      • by sciurus0 (894908)
        Can you leave your phone turned on for 24 hours without charging it? I'd love to get an Openmoko running the Qtopia or Android stack if they have working power management.
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:33PM (#25991187)

      it seems like Google is uninterested in the end user's extendibility of the platform, which was supposedly it's raison d'etre.

      One would hope this isn't the selling point of the phone, but rather that it is a flexible phone that meets the users' needs. The fact that it's hackable and "community-driven" is a means, not an end.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NickFortune (613926)

        One would hope this isn't the selling point of the phone, but rather that it is a flexible phone that meets the users' needs. The fact that it's hackable and "community-driven" is a means, not an end.

        I suppose the question following on from there is selling point to whom?.

        If the sales pitch is directed at phone manufacturers, then giving them a cheap software stack that they can customise to suit their desires, and then lock down tight, Is probably going to be very appealing. That said, it doesn't real

    • by Eric Smith (4379) <eric@bro u h a h a . c om> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:51PM (#25991465) Homepage Journal
      If Google was uninterested in the end-user's extensibility of Android, they wouldn't have made the SDK publicly available at no charge.

      I suspect the reason the G1 won't allow installation of non-signed firmware is due to carrier (T-Mobile) requirements, not because Google doesn't want you to be able to hack it.

    • by recharged95 (782975) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:07PM (#25991711) Journal
      If it does come out, Koolu [koolu.com] is the answer to your question. Unfortunately it's a bit immature though they promised a working version last month (didn't happen). It shows promise. I thought it was a pipe dream as they are late on delivery, BUT you can download the source here [koolu.org], which shows commitment at least.

      .

      I'm running the openmoko Android version from Sean McNeil (check out openmoko's wiki) in dual boot mode, along with Qtopia and it shows promise too, though I think koolu's team of devs will likely reach a optimized distro quicker. Comparing both the G1 and Freerunner, Android runs faster on the G1 (of course), where as the Freerunner has the ArmV4 compatibility issue (DOH!) and the lack of keyboard (all OM touchscreen keyboards fail at this current time).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Nursie (632944)

        Have you tried todays image from Sean and the latest (oversize) kernel?

        You'll need to mess around with uboot to get the large kernel going, but after that it has an onscreen keyboard and you can answer calls with it.

        Far from perfect, but making progress. I do want to see what Koolu have done too.

      • by Goaway (82658)

        Unfortunately it's a bit immature

        Neeext!

      • by Timmmm (636430)

        But Android doesn't have an on-screen keyboard, and the Neo Freerunner doesn't have a physical keyboard (and the screen doesn't really look big enough for an on screen one anyway). So how do you type?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kazin (3499)

      You, like most other people, seem to think that Google has some sort of say in wether the phones are hackable or not. Google published (and open-sourced) the OS and SDK. What manufacturers do with their phones is their business.

      And like someone else said, if you want a fully hackable phone, go get an OpenMoko. Nobody promised you that Android would be this.

    • by unixfan (571579) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:18PM (#25992859) Homepage

      What about supporting open media formats like OGG and FLAC?!! The owner talks bout being a long time OSS supporter, but ignores these vital formats! Weak!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by supernova_hq (1014429)
      Have you looked at the Nokia N-Series (N700/N800)? Most of their phones run linux out of the box, with root access only a "apt-get install chroot" away.

      I have the N810 (ok, not actually a phone, but same line) and it runs maemo (debian derivative) by default. I have full root access, can SSH into it remotely, do rDesktop, add custom repositories, install deb files, etc. Basically it's a linux computer that fits in your pocket!
    • by mmurphy000 (556983) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @03:48PM (#25994149)

      there's no sign yet of a phone that is completely hackable by the end user

      If you're referring to the ability to replace the firmware, that is definitely a disappointment. However, that's between HTC and T-Mobile. With Android published under the Apache License 2.0, there's not much anyone can do to force HTC and T-Mobile to allow self-signed firmware. My hope, though, is that some of these non-carrier devices, like the one cited in the OP, will allow replacement firmware. Only time will tell.

      The docs are out there, such as The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development.

      Thanks for the shout-out!

      so we could see a utopia of community-driven apps, but it seems like Google is uninterested in the end user's extendibility of the platform, which was supposedly it's raison d'etre.

      On the apps front, I suspect part of the hang-up is that the Android Market — the closest counterpart to the iPhone App Store — is only supporting free apps right now. Vendors interested in turning a buck (or yen or euro or whatever) either need to use one of the other markets or wait for the Android Market to start supporting paid-for apps. That's reputedly coming in Q1.

      Even given that, the Android Market has a fair number of apps there. I don't remember the release rates for the iPhone apps when its SDK was released, but I'd be a bit surprised if Android is dramatically off the pace. Yes, many of the apps are trivial (umpteen tip calculators, flashlights, etc.), but it's not like every iPhone or WinMo app is a blockbuster. Considering hardware has been available for 5-6 weeks, I'm relatively pleased with the response to date, for what my opinion is worth.

  • I think I might buy one, I try to avoid 1.0 anything. This one should be solid. I've had my same cell phone for about 4 years now; guess it's probably time for an upgrade.
  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:29PM (#25991089)

    The first gPhone was good, but not great.
    Android's had some growing pains, but now we've finally got a real iPhone killer on our hands.

    (Yes, they call every Android-based phone a "gPhone".)

  • by ribuck (943217) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:33PM (#25991177) Homepage
    From Kogan's website: [kogan.com.au]

    The design of the Kogan Agora and Kogan Agora Pro, when dispatched, will be materially similar to the images set out on this website. Despite this, Kogan Technologies reserves the right to make non-material modifications to the design of the phones in its sole discretion.

    Also, I won't be surprised if the shipping date slips.

    • You clearly have not been a part of many hardware development exercises.

      Thinking that product follows a design it then ship it model is as broken as thinking the same for software.

      It is very common for hardware designs to be modified during their lifetime. Frequently the first shipped product will have some hand modified parts to the circuit which will get fixed in a subsequent design. Frequently designs get modified to use cheaper components etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hadlock (143607)

      Well it's a freight shipment from China, which are notoriously late. Unless you own all the product on the ship (think apple at a major product launch like the iPhone, new iMac, etc), you're screwed, especially if you're using a budget carrier which he undoubtedly is. Jan 29th means he was told "last week in January" which means "third week of february". Depending on how badly he's pissed off samsung for lifting the curtian behind the wizard of oz on how LCD manufacturing works, they may pull some strings t

  • by rixster_uk (1216414) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:34PM (#25991195)
    Follow the money - manufacturer makes the phone, sells it for x to the network. If and only if network sees a potential to earn at least x/2 from services (internet / sms /mms etc etc ) will it then allow you to buy the phone for x/2...
    If the OS was fully open, then there would be no incentive for the network to buy the phone and subsidize the price - i.e. if you want a truly open phone - you'll get it but at a price.
    Shameless plug: I've got both the iphone sdk and the android sdk - I find the google sdk 20x easier to get stuff done and the marketplace puts your apps up *instantly* (upgrades and all). However, the marketplace is suffering from kids abusing the comment capability but when that's nailed (and of course the ability to actually charge for apps) I think we will see very high quality apps coming out for the google phone. Or at least I hope so - I'm writing a game in progress which I hope to earn a bit of cash. (Even more shameless plug : http://www.barcodebeasties.com/ [barcodebeasties.com] )
  • by caseih (160668) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:34PM (#25991203)

    I don't really need or want an iPhone or an Android phone. What I want is a nice, compact, multi-touch platform like the iPod Touch that runs android. Android has the potential to power a real iPod killer that's a nice platform for all kinds of apps.

    Initially I was very excited about the iPod Touch and bought one. But Apple's desire to completely and utterly control what I do with my own device has really turned me off of it. If I could have a similar device that was open to installation of apps and development without deferring to the whims of Google or any other manufacturer, I'd gladly shell out another $300 for an android device sans phone. Seems like manufactures aren't even bothering to compete with Apple in general (maybe android isn't good enough to compete with the iPhone and iPod touch), but rather are aiming for the already existing market of mediocre products such as blackberry, palm, and windows smartphones. Kind of sad, really. In this market things like video and audio playback seem almost like afterthoughts, which poorly designed apps to do this and little to no support for integrating with PC-based software, such as would be similar to iTunes. Sure you can dump songs on a little chip, but how well does the playback system work? is it fully integrated like it is on the iPhone and obviously the iPod Touch? How well can it integrate with Amarok or Songbird? Seems like there are a lot of opportunities here. Of course maybe they feel the mp3 player market is so saturated that it doesn't matter. After all business users care mainly about their e-mail. I get the impression I will never be in the target market for any of these companies.

    • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:42PM (#25991331)

      "I'd gladly shell out another $300 for an android device sans phone."

      Android can successfully be run on the Nokia N810, An internet tablet with WiFi (and there's a WiMAX version too).

      Maybe a little more than $300, but as a foreigner I don't know how to access google US to do a shopping search.

      • by EvilNTUser (573674) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:19PM (#25992871)

        The N810 already runs Linux with a Nokia UI. There's no reason to install Android.

        In addition, Nokia has been shipping phones that let you install anything you want for years, and their phone OS will become open source as of next year. They even provide native Python interpreters.

        The main reason Nokia is so unpopular in the US is that they refused to cripple their phones as much as the carriers wanted. Unfortunately even nerds in America are apparently too dependent on force fed advertising.

        • The N810 already runs Linux with a Nokia UI. There's no reason to install Android.

          Last I looked, the development procedures for the Nokia tablets involved having to do cross compiling, and required tools that could only be run on linux (not on osx, not on windows). If this is still the case, I'd say there's a significant reason to install Android.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)
      Android has the potential to power a real iPod killer...

      I've read that, in regards to other products, about 100 times before. Eventually it'll be true...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by michaelfellis (654912)

      If you're willing to pay an additional $300 for a phone you can install your own applications on, you could put $201 of that money back in your pocket and spend just $99 to become a registered iPhone developer. Once you've done that, you'll have a developer certificate that permits you to create and install as many applications as you want on your device.

      If your applications work well, you could then either give them away via the App Store or, if you choose, you might even get compensated for your effort.

      • by caseih (160668) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:05PM (#25992643)

        I'm afraid you've dramatically missed the point. I'm not interested in selling my soul to Apple for this privilege. Initially I only made the purchase (and arguably it was foolish) because I knew I could jailbreak the device and do what I wanted with it. However, Apple chose to go to war against those who would use the device in ways Apple didn't want (oh the irony of living in a free country) and they have decided it's illegal for me to use my iPod to sync against Amarok if I ever upgrade to 2.x (which they practically force on me every time I plug it into a computer with iTunes on it).

        I want a platform that I'm free to do anything I want with, since I own it. I want to be able to write new software, access the shell, sync against amarok, etc. I don't want to pay apple $100 for the privilege of accessing a device I already own and should have access too. That's just silly and a bit ludicrous if you think about it. Cue the bad car analogies... Sure we'll sell you a car. But if you want access to the trunk you have to pay us for a trunk license and then we reserve the right to take away the key at any time if we see fit.

        As for being compensated for my work, Apple's policies don't even allow GPL'd software at all, so I couldn't even offer my work to others to begin with.

        In hindsight, the iPod was a stupid buy. It doesn't work well with just about anything. I can't easily attach peripherals to it, except what Apple sanctions. However at the time it was the best device (when jailbroken) on the planet. I'm hoping that a device with Android will reach that point soon.

  • by quarterbuck (1268694) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:41PM (#25991315)
    They are selling them at $299 on their website [kogan.com.au]
    $399 with Camera and GPS .
    I hope the prices are in Australian dollars, that would make it a pretty good buy
    And the website has this comment "PRE-ORDER NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT - DEMAND WILL EXCEED SUPPLY!"
    I wonder how they know for certain that demand WILL exceed supply ?
  • Display resoultion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Eric Smith (4379) <eric@bro u h a h a . c om> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:46PM (#25991393) Homepage Journal
    Is half that of the G1. Not bad for the price, but if I had to choose between the two I'd pick the G1. Since I'm a developer, I'll buy one anyhow, to ensure that my apps work well on it.
  • by Andy_R (114137) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @12:48PM (#25991431) Homepage Journal

    The first thing that strikes me about this phone is that the spec is noticeably different from the other shipping Android phone, the screen is 320x240 not 480x320, and the camera is 2 megapixel not 3.2.

    It will be very interesting to see how well the software on the AppStore^H^H^H^H Android MarketTM works on different hardware, and how many developers will be willing and/or able to patch their software to work on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by immcintosh (1089551)

      Android applications, if properly made, are pretty screen-agnostic. The UI layout code is designed to heavily emphasize relative placement rather than absolute. Hell, even on the G1 you need a little leeway because of the way everything changes size when you flip the screen orientation.

      Overall, only the very laziest developers should have to do any significant patching, if any at all.

      • by joshv (13017)

        That's all well and good until I have to fit a certain amount of data on the screen. If I've designed for a larger screen, it's simply not going to fit, however flexible the layout.

        Now I could design for the lowest possible screen resolution, but that will limit functionality or force me to produce a UI that's artificially small on larger screens.

        Even the studious developers will have a lot of work to do making their apps work properly at lower resolutions.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by immcintosh (1089551)

          Have you done much development with the Android API and actually used the phones? I have a hard time thinking of any program you'd be making on a mobile phone that wouldn't be able to easily scale by 100 pixels one way or another. Certainly nothing I have on my G1 would qualify as such. And having played around making some apps with the API, it really encourages you to design in a way that scales transparently to different screen sizes.

          I'm curious what sort of program you're envisioning that has to cram

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by joshv (13017)

            I've developed two successful apps. One somewhat successful, one very successful. The most successful one is the most resolution independent. In coding it, I've done nothing that depends on any particular resolution. It randomly crashes in the emulator using QVGA (the resolution of the Aussie google phone). Even if it didn't crash, several of the screens are next to useless in the lower resolution, there is simply not enough space without recoding them.

            Now, I could recode my app to use smaller fonts, lo

    • by joshv (13017) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:46PM (#25993283)

      It is sometimes *really* hard to make apps that work at all resolutions when you don't have much screen real estate. One of my apps will break horribly on this new screen layout, and I am not sure how to fix it. The other should work ok, but it won't be as usable, and will limit the amount of functionality. Detecting all this will be an utter nightmare.

      My guess is that many of the android market apps will not work properly on this new phone.

      This is what I like about the iPhone - there is *one* resolution and two orientations - that's it.

  • Dollars? (Score:3, Funny)

    by 19061969 (939279) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:32PM (#25992133)
    Is this USD or AUD? The page seems to be a US page (and anyway, USD is the most commonly quoted currency) but it discusses a phone being released in Oz so I'm not sure.
    • Re:Dollars? (Score:5, Funny)

      by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Thursday December 04, 2008 @01:39PM (#25992249) Homepage

      If you think Australian Personal Computer Magazine is a US site, then there isn't much we can do to help you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by raju1kabir (251972)

      What is even one thing about the page that makes you think it's a "US page"?

      • "nine" is an Australian TV network. It's nothing in the US.
      • The headline says "Australian".
      • The article mentions Australia twice in the first paragraph.
      • The iPhone ad on the right side lists a bunch of Australian cell phone companies (Optus, etc.) that don't mean anything in the US.
      • The "Most discussed stories" box mentions Australia or Australian ISP iiNet in almost half the headlines and mentions the US in none.
      • The comments are
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mjwx (966435)

      Is this USD or AUD?

      Try a link to the Kogan web site
      http://www.kogan.com.au [kogan.com.au]

      You tell me.

      The page seems to be a US page

      Strange, I didnt notice that Australian PC magazine [apcmag.com] was a US site.

      Also I'm having a bit of trouble finding this address in the US:
      APC Magazine Street address:
      Level 18, 66 Goulburn St,
      Sydney, NSW 2000

      And certainly never mind that the first two lines of the article clearly mentioned Australia:

      Australian-based tech importer Kogan has revealed the first Google Android-based pho

  • http://forum.insanelymac.com/index.php?s=64f3739b65d34dc1e9ed83f26151baac&showtopic=138694 [insanelymac.com] That said, I'm still having trouble getting OSX86 to work on my Intel box, so hackeat emptor. I don't know how to write my own sound drivers for my PC Intel motherboard, so that's hangup there...
  • by immcintosh (1089551) <{slashdot} {at} {ianmcintosh.org}> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @02:05PM (#25992647) Homepage

    Having had the iPhone since early first generation, I recently decided to try out the G1, and I have been very pleasantly surprised. Feature-wise it's pretty much on par with the iPhone, but I've found the UI to (surprisingly enough) be more user-friendly and substantially more responsive (opening the contact list on the iPhone takes forever, for example). The web browser is a lot easier to use anywhere you need to deal with forms, too.

    After the major issues I've had with the iPhone (dropped calls, completely missed calls that never ever register on the phone, random total system crashes, etc...), I would honestly recommend Android over it for anybody who doesn't have an obsessive Apple fetish. So far it just seems to work more smoothly and reliably. It being much more open is icing on the cake, and conveys some very obvious advantages, like how developers are encouraged to make drop-in replacements for its built-in components (like a new email program), whereas Apple apparently forbids the same practice on the iPhone.

    Overall, I'm definitely gonna be sticking with my Android phone, but thankfully first gen iPhones still resell for a decent price :) It's good to see more models coming out--hopefully it'll really start catching on.

  • Suprise? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Slash.Poop (1088395)

    It looks like a surprisingly nice form factor

    Why is it surpiseing? Is Apple the only company that makes pretty products?

    • by Yosho (135835)

      Why is it surpiseing? Is Apple the only company that makes pretty products?

      No, it's surprising because most cell phone designs are crappy.

      At least, I presume that's why the submitter thinks it's surprisingly nice. I took a look at it and it looks more or less like every other crappy phone design to me. But, to be honest, I hate phones that have half of their face taken up by a tiny keyboard.

  • by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@NosPAM.gamerslastwill.com> on Thursday December 04, 2008 @04:46PM (#25994875) Homepage Journal

    up to 624MHz from 528MHz. Seems like a useful jump.

  • I love my G1. I thankfully got one that shipped with the earlier mega-bugged software revision and have held on to root access.

    Only certain people are trying to lock you out. Set a few build parameters, extract a few blobs from the handset, and you suddenly have a Dream-compatible Android build. For those that have root, modified recovery partitions are readily available which allow you to flash your own modified update packages. However, I compiled my own with a few changes - I don't like the idea of every

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