Vodafone to Release Android Phone in Europe
HTC has built Vodafone’s first Android-powered smartphone. Named the HTC Magic, it will be released exclusively for Vodafone in the U.K., Spain, Germany and France, and on a non-exclusive basis in Italy.
Vodafone’s relationship with Android started late last year when it joined the Open Handset Alliance, following in the footsteps of T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel. Currently there is only one Android handset on the market in the United States, T-Mobile’s G1, also built by HTC.
The Magic’s hardware includes a 3.2 inch QVGA touch screen, trackball navigator and 3.2 megapixel camera, but no qwerty keyboard. It will be bundled with a number of Google’s mobile Internet capabilities, including Google Maps, Google Search, YouTube and the Android-optimized Webkit browser. Users will also have access to the Android Market for apps and games.
There are no official plans for a U.S. release, but the phone is quad-band, allowing it to use the local 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands. However, Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD Group, is cautious about Android’s growth in the U.S. market.
“The G1 helped get the word out about T-Mobile’s entry into the 3G network, but we haven’t seen sales of the G1 match other handsets such as the iPhone, BlackBerry or those running Windows Mobile.”
T-Mobile currently enjoys a monopoly on the local Android market, but that is only temporary, according to Rubin, with more Android handsets expected to compete.