Despite Agora False Start, 2009 Should Be Good for Android


Despite all the publicity and buzz surrounding Android, there only is one commercialized device using the platform. The T-Mobile G1 undoubtedly will be joined by more handsets during 2009.


Still, the year has gotten off to a rough start. InformationWeek says that the Kogan Agora, which is under development in Australia -- here are some pictures -- has been put on the back burner and folks who pre-ordered are being issued refunds. The blog cites reports that company founder and CEO Ruslan Kogan recently met with Google. Presumably, the meeting didn't go too well. The piece refers rather vaguely to incompatibility and interoperability challenges.


The big issue is whether the delay and perhaps eventual cancellation will have any broader impact on the Android project. Google Watch offers a bit more information. It says that developers are designing applications for higher resolutions than the Agora is designed to handle. The bigger picture-and why this blogger says the Agora situation is bad news for Google-is that the success of Android is dependent on giving shoppers more choices. If the ability of developers to write for the platform is restrictive, Android may find it difficult to go toe-to-toe against Apple, Nokia, Research in Motion, Microsoft and the rest of the gang.


It will be interesting to see if any such problems crop up as Samsung enters the homestretch on development of its own Android device, which this piece says will be offered on the T-Mobile and Sprint-Nextel networks. Tech Radar provides good information on what is happening in the Android sector: In addition to Samsung, there may be products available during this year from Motorola, Lenovo, LG, Touch Revolution and others.


Tech Radar doesn't mention HTC, which manufactures the T-Mobile G1. The company apparently is set to deliver a new device to Telstra. Smarthouse reports that the new phone, which uses HTC's WebOS, will be bigger than G1. The story reports that the device was shown to Telstra executives at the CES earlier this month in Las Vegas and was thought likely to be competitive with the iPhone and to have a leg up on the Palm's new Pre.


As far as Motorola is concerned, the news is mixed. In October, BusinessWeek ran a piece that described its coming touch screen device and said that it is likely to be introduced in the U.S. during the second quarter of this year. More recently, Android Central said the company's troubles-it is laying off 4,000 workers, many from the mobile division-is not expected to impact the Android team.


The ups and downs of Android introductions will be fun to watch during the coming months. The competitors will have to deal with each other and the fickle public. In the final analysis, however, the smart phone sector, despite its collective popularity, must also deal with the recession.