Google phone confirmed for NZ

By Matt Greenop

Vodafone will sell the Google-powered HTC 'Magic' touchscreen smartphone in New Zealand.

Vodafone external communications manager Paul Brislen confirmed this morning that the device - part of a global deal between HTC and Vodafone - will see it on sale in the first half of this year.

The phone - which uses Google's open source operating system Android - is the second generation version of the T-Mobile G1, released in America and Europe. It has just gone on sale in Australia through Optus, badged HTC Dream.

The deal between Vodafone and HTC for the device was announced this week at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

It will initially be available for customers in UK, Germany, Spain, France and Italy.

New Zealand will be part of the 'second phase' of Vodafone's Magic release Brislen said.

It could be on the market here as early as May.

Meanwhile, Telecom has said that it is still investigating Android phones.

"We are currently investigating devices that run the Android Operating System," said mobile PR manager Rebecca Earl.

"The Android platform is a newly developed, open source environment that is in its infancy, and we continue to closely monitor its uptake and stability with customers."

"We look forward to more handset manufacturers launching devices with this as their primary operation system."

The Magic sees some drastic changes from the first Android phone, incorporating an on-screen keyboard as opposed to the slide-out keypad on the G1.

It will feature Wi-Fi, a 3.2 megapixel camera and GPS capabilities, and a freshened-up version of Android.

Paul Brislen says that while the spec for the Kiwi version of the HTC Magic is yet to be confirmed, it is likely to be tailor-made for Vodafone's 900/2100Mhz 3G network.

- NZ HERALD STAFF

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