Posted by Mike Evans in Events on February 17, 2009

HTC Magic Android phone
Day two at MWC 2009 has been a bit quieter. Perhaps the biggest news (and the least unexpected) has been the launch of the HTC Magic, aka the Android G2. As we reported yesterday, the HTC Magic will be available exclusively on Vodafone, and will probably not be going to the US anytime soon, leaving some to wonder if T-Mobile have their sights set on a G3?

The Magic, meanwhile, has been garnering warm praise from bloggers, with Gizmodo describing it as the closest competitor to the iPhone yet.

More details of the HTC Magic after the jump.

HTC Magic overview

Android G2: HTC Magic Hands ON from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

The two key highlights of the HTC Magic are its form factor and its ability to record and play video. Its form factor is much smaller than the original G1’s, largely because it doesn’t have a physical keyboard. Instead, it sports a virtual keyboard that’s very similar to the iPhone’s.

Very similar, that is, except for one crucial thing – it doesn’t actually work all that well! When you press a key,the character that you’ve pressed pops up just like on the iPhone. However, with the iPhone, the key pops up in large form underneath your finger; with the Magic, in contrast, it pops up to left or right of the screen, where you can’t actually see it, but where you do catch annoying glimpses of something popping up all the time.

I was worried about this, frankly. Touchscreen interfaces are all very well, but they’re only any good if they actually work. The same is even more true for virtual keyboards, as a keyboard that doesn’t actually work all that well leads to a frustrating experience that eventually prevents you from actually writing any text.

The HTC Magic may be great in every other respect, then, but with a poorly funcitoning virtual keyboard, it’s not for me – which si really annoying!

Multimedia features

Fortunately it’s not all bad news. The Magic comes an enhanced camera (now 3.2 megapixels) and even the ability to shoot video, although not necessarily in great quality. Certainly nothing to compare with the Samsung Omnia HD, but then, frankly, there’s nothing on the market that’ll compete with that beast at the moment!

Technical specifications

The HTC Magic’s technical specifications are as follows:

  • Android OS
  • Quad-band EDGE / dual-band 7.2Mbps HSDPA (900/2100 MHz)
  • 512MHz Qualcomm® MSM7201a
  • 512MB ROM / 192MB RAM
  • 3.2? HVGA touchscreen display (though the presser and Voda say QVGA, Android does not play nice with QVGA displays)
  • Virtual QWERTY keypad, trackball
  • 3.2 megapixel camear w/ AF (no flash)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • microSD
  • 1340 mAh battery
  • Talktime: 400 min 3G / 450 min GSM
  • Standby: 660 hours 3G / 420 hours GSM
  • 113mm x 55mm x 13.65mm, 118.5g
  • Available in black and/or white depending on market

As you can see, it’s not that different from the G1, but it is a whole lot smaller. The Android user interface is really nice, too, while HTC has managed to create a touchscreen that is really responsive. If it wasn’t for the damn keyboard, this would be my next smartphone. Grr!

[Source: BoyGenius Report, Gizmodo]