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Second Android-Based Phone Announced 204

Rob Lazzurs writes "The second 'Google phone' has been announced. While this does from the first look seem like a nice device, I know I would miss the keyboard. However, I would expect given the issues with the first device, the question on most G1 users lips will be 'Is the battery life any better?'" Update: 02/17 14:06 GMT by T : Reader Andrew Lim adds a link to CNet UK's hands-on pictures of HTC Magic including pictures of it next to a G1. Also on the upcoming cell phone front, reader Jack Spine writes "Dell is to launch a smartphone, according to AT&T chief Ralph de la Vega. Speaking at a Mobile World Congress panel discussion with Steve Ballmer, de la Vega said 'Dell announced they're entering the smartphone market,' — a bit of a slip, because Dell hasn't, yet." Update: 02/17 16:07 GMT by T : Now, according to Engadget, de la Vega says he was misquoted.
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Second Android-Based Phone Announced

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  • lack of keyboard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crimperman ( 225941 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:03AM (#26885727) Homepage

    Yeah that's a problem. I liked the G! in principle but every time I picked one i felt like it was going to break in minds. This one will by nature feel more solide (less moving parts) but lack of keyboard is a bit of an issue for me.

    Not sure about the proprietary headphone jack either

    • Can't you connect a bluetooth keyboard to an Android device?

      • In theory, the linux kernel and assorted bluez tools have the necessary drivers and tools to use HCI-HID devices.

        In practice, I don't know if this is enabled in Android as sold on official operator-branded locked phones or if you'll be restricted only to hacker-friendly unlocked like those branded by Google (.. which by the way are subsidized by the operator of your choice in Switzerland. Yay!) or the Koolu (a brand which sells FIC FreeRunners with Android installed instead of OpenMoko).

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        No. It wont fit in my pocket, unlike the phone with built-in keyboard.

    • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:26AM (#26886011)

      I never got this Cellphone Keyboard obsession thing. Even ones with real keyboards they are just good for typing short messages, really small buttons makes it hard to type. At least with the touch screen the keys are actually a bit bigger as you can switch keyboards for what you are typing. But for the most part the type of stuff you need on a smart phone is Point and Click. When you are texting you only write short bursts. The need of a real keyboard isn't that big of a deal, much like people who complained when we went from the Dial phone to the Touch pad. The Dial Phones had great feed back, the feeling of the resistance of the dial, the arch motion your finger was made to do. The feeling it touching the stopper. The sound of it winding up and winding back with the gentile clicks of it puling the number over the line. But still TouchTone Phones took over as they were more efficient, and allowed for future upgrades, in the short term the people switching from Dial to Touchtone were less efficient as they had to hunt down numbers in a different pattern. But in time it picked up. I think the same thing will happen with touch screens. The feeling of pressing the key for a response will not be a major concern in the future.

      • by limaxray ( 1292094 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:40AM (#26886193)
        You must not have had to deal with both types of phones for an extended period of time - I said the same thing you did until I got a phone with a real keyboard, and now I will never go back. The novelty of a touch keyboard wears off very quickly when you have to do real work sending emails, managing servers, etc. It's just really nice not to have to actually look at the keyboard.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by patniemeyer ( 444913 ) *

          It's a matter of taste... I had exactly the opposite experience. Moving from Palms with chicklet keys to the iPhone took a little getting used to, but I'd never go back. With touch you get bigger buttons that adapt to what you're doing and you don't take any real estate away from the screen.

          I have an ssh app for the iPhone that I use to check in on servers... It puts up a semi-transparent keyboard over the screen so that I can type and read at the same time. There are advantages to "soft" keyboards.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BrokenHalo ( 565198 )
        Even ones with real keyboards they are just good for typing short messages, really small buttons makes it hard to type. At least with the touch screen the keys are actually a bit bigger as you can switch keyboards for what you are typing.

        I'm with you on that. I'm not convinced by the iPhone for my needs (making calls, SMSs and occasional browsing/email) since if I want to spend much time browsing or typing, I'll use my laptop or desktop machine. The new Android device looks like it might fit my usage a bi
        • My reaction to the first Android phone was that it is so bulky

          I never understand these statements. I added armor to my phone which considerably bulks it up in addition to protecting it. The bulked up size actually fits my hand. On the other hand, hehe, my G1 fits my wife's hands just about right. And with the added armour, its equally comfortable for her.

          Unless you're a teenage girl or have really effeminate, child-like hands, the iPhone and really, the only slightly larger G1, is too small in its native fo

      • by raitchison ( 734047 ) <robert@aitchison.org> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:58AM (#26886423) Homepage Journal

        For people with big hands a touch screen keyboard (at least Apple's implementation of it) is pretty much unusable. Even if you are very accurate with your key presses you fingers will frequently hit another key. When I've used an iPhone I had to resort to typing with my pinky which is pretty awkward.

        A well designed physical keyboard (IMO the G1 has one) even if the keys are smaller you can still put the pressure on the key you want to press and it and only it will be pressed. Other physical keyboards, such as those on the Pantech Duo they keys are too flat and they aren't any better than a virtual keyboard.

        • Half the ease of use of a touch screen keyboard is, IMHO, in the software.

          I use the Steel browser on my G1 in preference to the standard browser (eat it, Google, I want my iGoogle page MY way, you evil uncaring dictatorial bastards!), and the on-screen keyboard in the first rev was weak and difficult. I mistyped a lot.

          The recent update changed the onscreen keyboard just enough that it is almost more accurate for me than the hard keys. And I do not have small fingers, nor am I very accurate. My typing suc

      • I never got this Cellphone Keyboard obsession thing. Even ones with real keyboards they are just good for typing short messages, really small buttons makes it hard to type.

        I assume you've never actually used one. That "really hard to [type]", keyboard is far more efficient, faster to use, and less error prone than the on-screen variants. And as a bonus, you're not surrendering huge chunks of screen real-estate to support a clunky, non-tactile, error-prone, slow keyboard.

        Any smart phone which does not have a

        • by joggle ( 594025 )

          Exactly. As for myself I will never own another smart phone unless that phone has a keyboard. It's just impossible to do any ssh without one and while I usually have my laptop it can be a pain to lug around whereas having access to a small terminal with an internet connection anywhere I go is extremely useful.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I guess I agree with you there, though I miss my old iPhone. My G1 seems like a Model T in comparison hardware-wise, but I don't think I can go back to the no-keyboard situation. My old eyes just don't work well enough to find those small keys.

            I looked at all the photos of the new phone. Here's some insights from a G1 owner:

            - The screen is *exactly* the same model. It's nice, but only 2.5". Every time I hold an iPhone, what really strikes me is that huge 3.5" screen.
            - They *still* don't have a headset

            • by joggle ( 594025 )

              It's possible to charge while listening to music, you just have to buy an adapter. I bought one of these so that I could listen to music during a long road trip.

              The adapter is here: http://store.androidcommunity.com/content/accessories/11-176--4401.htm [androidcommunity.com]

              At $16 it's not too bad a price and it also can replace that annoying dongle you have to use to hook up headphones.

            • by Cederic ( 9623 )

              - The screen is *exactly* the same model. It's nice, but only 2.5". Every time I hold an iPhone, what really strikes me is that huge 3.5" screen.

              The screen is smaller, but the resolution is the same.

              Personally I think that's an improvement. Smaller pixels, greater information density, no loss of text on-screen.

              I can see how that would be an issue for people that aren't as short-sighted as me though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cyclomedia ( 882859 )
        Personally I never got this Smartphone PDA thing...

        I jest... All i really really want is a PSION Revo with wifi and a gig or so of storage, perfect for on-the-move emails, ssh-ing and even (no flash!) web browsing. But most importantly, and unlike every damned PDA made since 2001, it has a proper keyboard!
    • by Zerth ( 26112 )

      I didn't think I'd ever like a touchscreen keyboard until my wife got me a Blackberry Storm. It still sucks compared to an IBM keyboard(what doesn't) and I can't type on it without looking at it, but the physical switch screen beats any other phone-sized device I've used. I probably can't type as fast as someone who has been using a regular blackberry for awhile or has a Psion-style fold open keyboard, but after a month I'm typing fast enough for anything I'd do on a phone.

      Well. Except for when I screwed

      • by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

        ditto on the blackberry storm. I'm actually using mine
        To type this right now. Its a bit awkward by virtue of being a phone
        But I do like the click screen.

      • The mandatory blackberry data plan that most carriers require has pretty much killed my desire for a Blackberry. My G1 unlimited data plan is $25 a month. I got it after switching from Verizon, who wanted me to pay like $50 a month on top of voice for the blackberry plan. I know this is not a big deal for someone using one that a company is paying for, but IMO the G1 is a better consumer smart phone, whereas the blackberry is a great corporate smart phone (especially since it's pretty much the best thing
        • by Zerth ( 26112 )

          Ouch, you're getting screwed, or I have a very different plan. Did you accidently get the corporate plan, or the tethering plan? My data plan, through Verizon, is only $30.

          • Don't know where you live, perhaps they price it out cheaper there, but if you use my zip code and try to price out a blackberry and look at the data plan, the only option is $49.99. And this is off of the general verizonwireless.com site, not the corporate site. Perhaps you are getting a partner discount.
            • by Zerth ( 26112 )

              Maybe rates have gone up to pay for their buy 1 get 1 promo. The cheapest data rate I could see now in my area is 39.99 addtl for data or 49.99 if you just get the data, no voice.

              It's a personal phone, so no discounts other than it's a family plan, so the voice part is cheaper, but that hasn't changed from back when I had a regular phone. On the other hand, I live in the middle of nowhere.

    • Re:lack of keyboard (Score:5, Informative)

      by pcolaman ( 1208838 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:20AM (#26886755)

      What the fuck are you talking about? The G1 is the most solid smart phone I've ever had. Dropped this son of a bitch from 5 feet (obviously not on purpose) onto a sidewalk, and it handled it like a champ. Also, the most solid slider I've seen. I also don't get the whole battery complaint. If you leave the GPS and WiFi on, yeah it's going to be a battery hog. But I keep both off unless I need them and I get about 2-3 days of average use (internet and phone) before I have to charge it otherwise. And the fact that it charges through USB just makes it easy for me to charge it when I'm at work (family owned place that doesn't care what I hook up to the computer, lucky me).

      If you want to legitimately complain about something about the G1, it's the horrible camera on the phone. The resolution is reasonable for a phone, but the performance on the camera (panning, zooming, focusing, etc) is the worst I've ever seen. Good thing I didn't buy it for the camera.

      • battery life (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xant ( 99438 )

        I've actually found that each OTA (over-the-air) update of Android has incrementally improved the battery life.

        At this point I have GPS and high-speed networks always turned on, and syncing everything except Gmail (only because I hate that nag and I get over a hundred emails a day..), and my battery indicator stays green for more than a day at a time without recharging, which means I could probably go 2 days without a charge. (May not sound like a lot, but this phone does a LOT.) If I turned off more stuf

        • The longest I've ever gone between charges on the G1 was literally 5 days. And that's 5 days of normal use. Granted, I was at the point where I had like 5% battery life and my phone was threatening to shut down completely, but I was amazed. And you are right, I've noticed as the updates come in, it does tend to get better.
  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:08AM (#26885787) Homepage

    Isn't this something like the third "second Android phone" announced so far?

  • by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:12AM (#26885835) Homepage

    FTA: "We are paying particular attention to style and design; I'm practically obsessed with it," said Patrick Chomet, global director of terminals for Vodafone Group.

    Channeling Steve Jobs?

    Also: "If the device hits an anticipated price point of between 99 and 199 euros, Ms Milenesi said it would be pitched at the broader phone market. "With that range of prices, it's not aimed at the same audience as, say, the iPhone, it's looking more at a broader appeal for people."

    Hmm, how much cheaper than the iPhone is that really? Will people want to save a few euros and miss out on all the cool Apple vibe that iPhone owners magically acquire?

  • I'm still using my 4 year old Windows Mobile phone because nobody has yet released offline GPS software. Seriously, most new smartphones have built-in GPS, and nobody thinks about that? Google Maps is not an option because 3G is not available everywhere, and even where it is, it costs way too much. (No, flatrates don't count either, because I wouldn't need one otherwise.)

    Same goes for the iPhone. Apple has its market locked up, but Google doesn't - so why are there no decent options?

    • by dada21 ( 163177 )

      Google intends, and I agree with them, for wireless data access to be much cheaper, much faster, and much more readily available in the next 2-3 years.

      Having offline maps is a huge storage consumer. Storage takes space, it takes up energy, and it requires updating. If everyone had to have 4GB of maps stored offline, times tens of millions of customers -- it's a great waste of space.

      Google believe in client-server interfaces, as I do, because that IS the future. All we need is for data to get cheaper and

      • by Nursie ( 632944 )

        Still seems a lot, but I guess you've got roaming charges built in to that.

        I get 3GB of 3G data a month for £7
        But then I don't use it abroad.

    • by CompMD ( 522020 )

      Garmin-Asus demonstrated both the nuvifone G60 and nuvifone M20 at MWC. Perhaps you'd be interested in these.

  • Need a keyboard? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordKaT ( 619540 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:16AM (#26885891) Homepage Journal

    Am I the last person on Earth to use a phone as - I don't know - a god damn phone?

    • Yes, yes you are. :D
    • by rob1980 ( 941751 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @10:41AM (#26886197)
      Nope. But you're probably one of the few remaining people who haven't updated their definition of "phone" yet. ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FrozenFOXX ( 1048276 )

      Am I the last person on Earth to use a phone as - I don't know - a god damn phone?

      Nope, I use my G1 as a phone quite regularly. However, I see it more as a "communications device," rather than a phone.

      I must admit, I've not had any problems with the battery life on the G1, especially after the last update or two (got mine with a rooted phone). Even with regular, fairly heavy (but not overly punishing) use I can go for over 24 hours without a charge which puts it between the iPhone and the BlackBerry Curve.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I have always been a firm believer in the concept that cell phones are for placing and receiving phone calls. The term is used erroneously in the case of the G1. The G1 is NOT a cell phone. It is an Internet Enabled PDA based on Linux and FOSS software that is also capable of placing and receiving cell calls. It is a COMPUTER. I can write software for it, and even modify the OS itself. To compare a G1 to any cell phone, including the iPhone, is to compare Apples to Androids.
    • As I imagine, everyone uses their smart phones as "just a god damn phone," as well as doing plenty else with it.

      I really don't understand people and their problems with smartphones -- if you don't like it, don't use it. :\ No one's forcing you to use one.

      • by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @11:34AM (#26886997) Journal

        I really don't understand people and their problems with smartphones -- if you don't like it, don't use it. :\ No one's forcing you to use one.

        I agree, although it is frustrating when you get a device with tons of functions but terrible reception. Great reception is a fundamental phone feature.

        I also think there are things that "smart phones" could do to be smarter AS phones. For instance:

        • Have a "knock first" mode: callers hear "I'm busy or asleep - press one to ring me anyway if it's an emergency, otherwise leave a message."
        • Have built-in, onscreen, location-aware, always-cached phone book search. If there's anything a phone needs internet for, that's first.
        • Automatically sync your contacts to your computer via Wi-Fi when you walk in range of your home network.

        SOME phones have SOME of these features, but stuff like this should be basic to any phone that's supposed to be "smart." Let it be a great phone before you make it a camera and a computer and a bagel slicer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by mdm-adph ( 1030332 )

          Well, the G1 has two of those three things you want, there. :D

          The first one seems to be something that's more of a carrier thing, though.

          • "The first one seems to be something that's more of a carrier thing, though."

            Why do you think so? I'd say he in fact had a great idea carriers would be delighted to offer on their phones.

            These are not the days of analog telephones. A telephone doesn't ring because there's voltage on the bell wires. It's all software. An smartphone could answer the line without tone and save the voice message as much as it could ring. And carrier would bill it as an aswered call!

        • # Automatically sync your contacts to your computer via Wi-Fi when you walk in range of your home network.

          That's exactly what I need, a potential vector for invasion into my phone.

          I like my smartish iPhone, but when syncing i'd rather be in bluetooth class II range, or use a usb sync cable.

          • That's exactly what I need, a potential vector for invasion into my phone.

            Why does it have to be a security risk? I'm not talking about syncing executables, just contacts. Let it be a CSV file.

            Besides, I said your home network. Don't you secure it?

        • by PsyQ ( 87838 )

          Sounds great! When do you want to start [android.com]?

    • ...of pointing people to the myriad of mobile phones out there that -are- nothing but a phone because the response, invariably, is:
      - but I do still want it to carry WiFi?
      - but it doesn't have a color screen?
      - can I can't run custom apps on it?
      - does it have a bluetooth?
      and so forth and so on.

      If you really, really, really want a mobile phone that is 'just a mobile phone' plus the stuff you do want, just get one that does all that -and more-... and use your willpower to NOT use the parts you don't want to use

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      I'm not sure, but I know people probably old enough to be your parents who know what SMS is for. It's not their fault that you're nailed to your porch, shouting at kids to get off your lawn.

      Two simple truths: Voice is not always the most efficient means of communication (especially in, say, a concert) and Only other cranky luddites are impressed by your whining. You can always count on ANY mobile phone story to be full of people crying about how a phone isn't a phone any more. There are plenty of cheap, cra

      • Guess what? You could perhaps mod the above comment flamebait, although it isn't really; but a troll is when someone expresses an opinion they don't actually hold in order to elicit a desired response. If slashdot's moderation system isn't actually going to be fixed, maybe a "report abuse" button is in order. It would be overused, but so is moderation.

    • Am I the last person on Earth to use a phone as - I don't know - a god damn phone?

      Do you have a problem with doing more with a device you're already paying a monthly fee for?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The are plenty of phones you can buy which don't do anything other than phone and write texts. They often have great battery life and cost as little as $30 unlocked.
      I use a Nokia 1110i and it has been all I needed. But I still understand why people might want something more.

    • ...and what's the deal with all these kids on my lawn, anyway?

    • by N1AK ( 864906 )

      Am I the last person on Earth to use a phone as - I don't know - a god damn phone?

      No. Just the only one reading this article that thinks anyone else cares.

    • I dunno.

      How do you type in the name of the contact you want to ring without a keyboard? Dial charles by pressing:

      1 1 1 3 3 1 7 7 7 5 5 5 3 3 7 7 7 7

      No thanks, I'll stick to a keyboard for basic phone use.

  • Does every dashboard / plasmoid / widget set need to have an SVG clock as it's be all end all feature? From Opera's pansy user-scriptable language, to Plasma (KDE 4), to Windows 7, to that computer named after a fruit all I see is SVG clocks. And you know what I think of when I see a large, round object with two hands across it? Goatse.

    • "And you know what I think of when I see a large, round object with two hands across it? Goatse."

      To be fair, you should point out that you also think of goatse on a regular basis, for no other reason than good old fashioned perversion. Anybody that thinks that the Analog clock is the be all end all feature of the G1 certainly isn't thinking about actually finding out anything about the G1. For example, many people might think that Google Maps in Street View, with the accelerometer changing your view posit

    • Because it's called Scalable Vector Graphics for a reason.

      Widgets are popular right now, and having a graphics format that you can generally enlarge as much as you want without loosing much quality tends to help there, especially on large screens...
      • I know what SVG stands for. By why that clock all over the place. Go google for android screenshots. Analog SVG Clock. Now KDE 4 screenshots. Analog SVG Clock. Windows Vista / 7 screenshots. Analog SVG Clock. Opera widgets. Analog SVG Clock.

        • I have also noticed that each of these platforms has a Web browser! What is up with that? Isn't that just weird and uncanny how simple to implement applications that many people like and will use are available on all the major platforms! It boggles the mind!
  • The first android was named "B4."

    That means this one is "Lore!"
  • I refuse to carry around a "dongle" to be able to use a good set of IEMs.

    • Exactly -- just hook up the dongle to your IEM's, and forget about it. Then, you're not carrying around a dongle with your phone, you're just carrying around your phone and your IEM's (which already have a dongle on them).

      You have to carry them around anyway -- an additional 3 inches of dongle shouldn't matter to you, should it?

  • freerunner can also run android, soon you will be able to buy one w/ android preinstalled

    http://www.sdgsystems.com/ [sdgsystems.com]

    plus, the hardware is completely open

  • It might be a long time before there is a 'real' Google phone on 850MHz, so I wonder what the status is of using Android on other phones? Has Android been ported to some of the other HTC phones? Does it work well, or is it just for hackers?

    Ideally I would like something that supported both 850 and 2100MHz for 3G.

  • If HTC were to release a version of the Touch Pro2 [htc.com] running android, it would make it all worth while. I might even upgrade from my Trinity.
    • Good lord, don't get sucked in by the Qualcomm MSM7200A. It's no better, graphics wise, than a TyTN II (which I have) or your trinity.

  • by rtilghman ( 736281 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @12:03PM (#26887597)

    It's funny how the lack of one of the most basic features can drastically undermine the appeal of a whole device...


    • As a G1 owner, I concur.

      It was probably the easiest thing of all to include.

      But, HTC has a good market selling headphone adapters.

      It was a boneheaded thing to do. Can't compete with the iphone on that front.

      Cupcake, will include the bluetooth a2dp profile for stereo headsets like my plantronics 815.

      if they ever release it. T-Mobile included.

      • by taniwha ( 70410 )
        well I agree - but looking at my G1 I sort of understand why - I suspect it has more to do with the length of such a connector and the location of the buttons on the internal circuit boards - there's no physical space available with the required depth - a phone without a physical keyboard is going to have a lot more locations you could pull that off
  • Is it fully compliant with the Android spec? How do you get a product certified to show the Android logo?

  • by DrVomact ( 726065 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:21PM (#26891427) Journal

    I'd actually love to have an Android phone (the one with the keyboard), but I'm not willing to pay the extra $35/month T Mobile wants to charge for internet access (plus the regular rate for phone calls, of course). So it doesn't really matter how many great Android phones come out—the whole point of Android is constantly available internet connectivity, so there's no point in my buying one if I'm not willing to cough up that extra money.

    Maybe this is a fair charge, maybe not, but I guess I have no urgent need to be connected to the internet 24/7 (I have computers at work and at home that I can use for that, after all), and my techno-lust is not sufficient to make me pay the extra fee.

    Maybe the fees will come down once there are unlocked Androids for sale, and every cellular service supports them. Then maybe I'll take a second look.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI