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Vodafone Intros 'Magic' Android Phone

The second major smartphone with the Android operating system relies on a touch-heavy interface, has Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, and has deep integration with Google's Web services.

HTC Magic

HTC Magic
(click for larger image)
With Microsoft and Symbian garnering much of the attention at Mobile World Congress, some were worried that Android would be a no-show. But HTC and Vodafone introduced Tuesday the second major handset to use Google's open source mobile operating system.

The HTC Magic shares many of the characteristics and design elements of the T-Mobile G1, but it ditches a physical keyboard for a touch-heavy interface on its 3.2-inch screen. The Magic will also take advantage of the "Cupcake" branch of Android development, which will add a virtual QWERTY keyboard for text input.

Like any Android device, the Magic will have deep integration with Google's Web services like Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, and Google Maps. Users won't be locked into the search giant's services though, as the Magic will be able to receive e-mails from POP3 and IMAP accounts. The smartphone will be able to browse, download, buy, and install applications over the air from the Android Market.

To stay connected on the go, the Magic has integrated Wi-Fi, EDGE, and HSDPA 3G that is capable of up to 7.2 Mbps downlink. There's also a GPS chipset, Bluetooth, document viewing, and a 3.2-megapixel camera that can record video.

"Following our joining of the Open Handset Alliance, we have worked very closely with HTC to bring this cool new phone to the market," said Patrick Chomet, Vodafone's global director of terminals, in a statement. "Our customers want to access a wide range of the most attractive mobile devices to help them make the most of their time -- the HTC Magic helps meet that need."

Vodafone will be bringing the handset out in Europe this spring, and there are no immediate plans to bring the Magic to the U.S. market. The carrier said the smartphone would be available at various pricing points with different plans.

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