LAS VEGAS - Taiwan's HTC makes the first and only Google (GOOG) Android-based smartphone on the market. T-Mobile's G-1 has been pretty successful for everyone involved so far.
But back in February, HTC announced a second Android handset at the Mobile World Congress cellular show in Barcelona. It's called Magic. The first cellular provider to offer the new design will be Britain's
. The handset should start selling within the next few weeks.
First Look: New Google Phone
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So far, HTC has made no announcement on whether Magic will ever be available for sale in the U.S. I'm hoping it will. Especially since I was just privy to a personal demonstration of the new phone at the CTIA cellphone show here. From what I saw, this is one killer smartphone.
First of all, you should know that the HTC Magic is a lot like the G-1 it makes for T-Mobile. Then again, it's a lot different too.
The Magic is physically smaller than the G-1. In particular, it's much, much thinner because there's no slide-out QWERTY keyboard under the screen. Magic uses an on-screen keyboard like
Research In Motion's
N97 and others.
Magic measures 4.45 x 2.17 x 0.54 inches and weighs just 4.18 ounces. In its current guise, the Magic is a quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE world phone with HSDPA support for European 3G networks. There's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 3.2 megapixel camera inside. Battery life is said to be up to seven hours of talk and up to 11 hours of standby time per charge. A micro-SD memory card can add up to 16GB of extra storage.
But it was the feel of the phone in my hand, the way the built-in accelerometer made applications and icons float and move on the screen. Just the overall personality of the handset makes the Magic a phone to reckon with.
HTC's boss said recently his company will be producing a number of new Android-based phones for the U.S. market in 2009. I'm hoping that the Magic will turn out to be one of them. It could give some other models a run for their money.
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.