March 19, 2009 by Tap
Earlier this month I blogged about a German court ruling which threatened to scupper HTC's plans to launch any new 3G smartphones in Germany, including the forthcoming HTC Magic. At the time, HTC indicated that it would appeal and it looks like they did as latest reports now indicate that the original ruling has been suspended by an appellate court.
Whether this new ruling is an indication that the original claim is unfounded is hard to tell although HTC certainly thinks so. All we know is that HTC and IPCom will be back in court in four weeks time to try and settle this once and for all.
Source: Yahoo Finance
March 17, 2009 by Tap
There's no denying that HTC are on a roll. According to a Reuters report, the company is extremely bullish for 2009 and that can only mean one thing for Android fans - more Android phones. At a Merrill Lynch technology conference in Taipei today, HTC CEO Peter Chou made mention of HTC's second-generation Google Android phone (the HTC Magic) and added that "a total of three such models would be introduced this year."
The Reuters report also mentioned HTC's acquisition of industrial design consultancy One & Co. - these were the guys responsible for the design of the sleek HTC Touch Diamond. Let's just hope that they'll be adding some of their design flair to the company's next Android phones.
March 16, 2009 by Tap
Paging through my copy of Stuff magazine again (old-school I know) this weekend I was confronted once more by the stunningly sleek and sexy new Toshiba TG01. With its 4.1 inch screen and at just 9.9mm thin, this phone is guaranteed to be a top seller based on looks alone. A few pages on and there was a write-up on HTC's new Touch Pro 2, another great looking (albeit chunky thanks to the QWERTY keyboard) piece of kit.
Now there's one problem with both of these phones (if you're an Android fan that is) – they run Windows Mobile. I have no doubt that the majority of phone users don’t know or even care what OS their phone is running and the T-Mobiles/Vodafones of this world know this. Just look at Vodafone's preview page for the HTC Magic – there is no actual mention of Android on the page (in the browser title and meta description only). Instead they try to pitch the Magic as sleek and stylish. The problem is that compared to the likes of the TG01 and Touch Pro 2, the Magic looks like a bit of an ugly stepchild.
But are looks really that important? I would say yes. Some phones sell because they are technically superior, but a lot of phones sell simply because they have the looks and the desirability factor. Is it possible that without the looks, the current Android phones will never be able to achieve the same degree of desirability (and sales) as their sexier competitors?
Come on HTC, we know what you're capable of, so what happened with the G1/Dream and the Magic? It's almost like the HTC Android team was ring-fenced and told to keep well away from the WinMo team. What's that all about? Yes Android has some specific requirements in terms of buttons an then there's the trackball (or chinwart as I like to call it) but surely all of that could have been incorporated into a better looking design.
That said, I can understand why maybe HTC didn't want to commit its best designs to a platform which, until now, has been an unknown and therefore a bit of a risk. Hopefully, based on the popularity of the G1 to date (and no doubt the HTC Magic from April), HTC will now commit its best and brightest designers to come up with some new designs for their next Android phone. I think it's time that we had a sexy Android phone don’t you?
March 9, 2009 by Tap
Want to know what the forthcoming HTC Magic looks like in all its disassembled glory? Now you can thanks to images from a leaked service manual.
I came across the manual over on xda-developers.com where it had been posted by a member who had found it "somewhere over the net". Bear in mind this is the service manual and not the manual that will be shipped with the phone when it's launched so it's pretty technical. Then again, if that's what does it for you you'll be happy to know that there's three whole pages of detailed technical specs as well as complete disassembly/assembly instructions which may come in handy once you've got your Magic and have nothing better to do on a Friday night.
March 6, 2009 by Tap
HTC is the current undisputed champion of the Android phone and it seems like nothing can stop them - until now that is, thanks to a German court ruling. According to a report on Handelsblatt.com, a Mannheim court has ruled in favour of patents license manager, IPCom, which had previously filed an injunction against HTC for supposedly infringing patents relating to Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), an integral part of 3G technology.
So what does this mean in practical terms? Well according to IPCom director Bernhard Frohwitter, they are willing to reach an agreement with HTC on licensing terms and if no agreement is reached, they will seek to block sales of any HTC phones that violate what he calls "100 series" patents. Now that's potentially bad news for anyone in Germany wanting a 3G HTC smartphone (including the T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream), and particularly bad news for Vodafone who are supposed to be launching the HTC Magic there in April.
The big question of course is just how far is IPCom prepared to go and will they seek to enforce these patents outside of Germany? IPCom GmBH has shown that it's not afraid to go to court having filed a similar (still pending) claim against Nokia (they've also set their sites on Google) but HTC seems confident that they will be able to appeal the ruling. According to HTC finance head Cheng Hui-ming, "Potentially there is a possibility of a small impact on our business, but as of now, we don't see how this ruling will impact our business or revenue." Let's just hope this doesn't turn into a drawn-out legal wrangle because in the end, it's usually the consumer that loses.
Source: Handelsblatt via Unwired View
March 4, 2009 by Tap
There's no doubting who would win in a battle between The Terminator and the Android Bot but it seems they've put any differences aside for this great photo opportunity. Unfortunately the original, posted on Flickr, didn't include much detail on the how, when and why but whatever the case, the PR chaps at HTC must be loving this. Just a pity that, as pointed out by Android Community, this is still a pre-production model. Maybe he'll be back to do some more promotion for Vodafone's launch in April.
Via: Android Community | Image: Dave Ross-Tomlin
March 2, 2009 by Tap
It seems that while the rest of the industry is facing financial woes, HTC is bucking the trend thanks to Android. This comes as we hear news that HTC almost doubled its workforce last year. HTC released its G1 handset in October last year with a forecast to ship one million units by the end of December. Although the company hasn't published any actual G1 shipment figures, if T-Mobile UK's report of successful sales is anything to go by, and based on US pre-orders, we know that HTC more than met its target.
According to Macquarie Group Ltd's Lu Chia-lin, HTC "made a lot of investments last year to expand their portfolio, including the move into Android handsets." He estimates that the company will release as many as five new Android phones this year. I'm not sure what he bases that estimate on but so far it’s one down (HTC Magic), four more to go.
All I can say is well done HTC. While other manufacturers seemed to have taken a wait-and-see approach up until now, HTC was willing to commit, and as a first-mover, is now reaping the rewards.
Via: Business Mirror
February 27, 2009 by Tap
Google G1 fan, Mark Hewitt, has recently updated his useful Hitchhiker's Guide to the G1 Google Phone hub and has some news on Google's Cupcake update. As many of you will know, the over-the-air update has already been made available in the US but UK users are still waiting. Mark has been in touch with the Google Press Office and been told that the update is due "very shortly" in the UK. Fingers crossed then. It will be worth the wait though with two notable improvements being:
- An onscreen keyboard - pretty essential now given that the forthcoming HTC Magic is keyboardless.
- Reduced battery drain which has been a problem from the beginning.
For more details on Cupcake and for more handy user tips for the Google G1, check out Mark's 4 part guide on hubpages.
February 25, 2009 by Tap
Well that didn't take long. Vodafone/HTC have only just announced their partnership and the forthcoming release of the HTC Magic and already there's an Android Emulator skin for developers to play with, complete with Vodafone branding - thanks to Tea Vui Huang.
There are a number of other skins available including the Nokia N95, Palm Treo Pro and the now infamous Kogan Agora Pro so check them out.
Via: Android Central | Tea Vui Huang
February 20, 2009 by Tap
It seems that this year's MWC was a bit of a let down as far as Android was concerned with most manufacturers paying lip service but not actually delivering. Here's a quick roundup of who did what.
According to T3, the rumour is that the KS360 will be relaunched using Android this year. Other than that, Marketing Manager Jeremy Newing confirmed that two other Android phones would be released later this year. No other details were available.
Chinese handset maker Huawei Technologies was kind enough to show off a non-working mockup of a phone at it's MWC booth and confirmed that it was planning on releasing Android phones possibly in Q3 this year.
They had already confirmed that they weren't going to demo anything at MWC but in a statement to Reuters, Won-Pyo Hong, head of product strategy, said that the firm would start selling more than three Android phones by the end of the year.
In the runnup to MWC General Mobile had confirmed that they would be launching their dual-SIM DSTL1 at the show. As it turns out, they were one of the few manufacturers to deliver. Check out the hands-on video on engadget.
At the end of last month there was speculation that Acer would be getting in on the Android act when they started to distribute invites to their 'smartphones launch' at MWC. Unfortunately this all proved to be unfounded although when engadget pressed an Acer rep for information he did make reference to two mysterious "Android secret models".
Of course the prize has to go to HTC who, together with Vodafone, revealed their next handset, the HTC Magic.