The third documented mobile phone to make use of Google's Android operating system will soon be released by Kogan Technologies. Reports in on last Thursday have images of a Blackberry-like configuration with a slick touchscreen and QWERTY-keyboard front, and the oversized analog clock familiar to the Android desktop. The Australian-owned company is a relatively small consumer electronics maker in Melbourne that also produces LCD televisions, monitors and high-definition cameras, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The company created its first mobile phones based on requests from Kogan customers, and they are being custom made in China. Founder Ruslan Kogan claims that the phones are "very affordable, but feature-packed."
The phone was reported in October to be released by Christmas for AU$199, but in the month since then the Kogan site has changed the release date to January 29, 2009. The prices have also changed, with the base Agora model selling for $299 (US$192) and the Agora Pro model for $399 (US$256). This still improves the situation for Aussies desiring of a Google phone, for whom the G1 can reach $1000 on eBay. Even so, much disappointment is being aired out in the comments sections of the Kogan blog.
On its release it will be available for worldwide distribution without a contract and fully unlocked to work with any wireless network in the world. The cheaper handset will come with 3G and Bluetooth capability, 128 RAM, expandable microSD-memory slot and the 2.5-inch touchscreen. The more expensive Pro will also have Wi-Fi, GPS and a 2megapixel camera, which do seem like base-model specifications for a smartphone not due out til next year.
While the hardware specifications are not impressive, they are enough for Android power to take advantage of. Preloaded with mobile Internet services, and an optimistic projection of the Android App Market make the Agora Pro a solid possibility for success.