Australian Android phone to ship on 29 January

David Braue
4 December, 2008
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Melbourne technology company Kogan Technologies will ship the $299 Agora and $399 Agora Pro, the first locally-designed smartphones based on Google’s open-source Android operating system, on January 29, the company announced today.

Sporting a Blackberry-styled keyboard and design, the Agora models also borrow from the iPhone with a 2.5-inch 320×240-pixel touch screen, Google applications including Gmail, Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Talk, and YouTube. Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS, and a 2 megapixel camera will be included in the Pro model only.

Both models will include Bluetooth; a built-in microphone and speaker; support for MP3, MIDI, WMA, AAC, WAV and PCM audio; support for MPEG-4, H.264 and other video formats; and a microSD expansion slot.

The phones will be sold unlocked and without contracts, and able to be used on any local network.

Kogan designs a range of IT products locally, then works directly with manufacturers in Asia to source components and manufacture the low-cost devices for local sale directly through the company’s Web site.

“We’ve been listening to customers through our blog, and crammed in all the features we possibly could,” said founder Ruslan Kogan in a statement. “The end result is the best value, fully-featured phone in the Australian market. We worked closely with manufacturers and vendors to develop drivers, software, and tweaks to make the Agora an intuitive and exciting experience for everyone.”

The phones, initially expected to be released before Christmas, will nonetheless add another low-cost option for buyers in the burgeoning smartphone market, which is dominated by the Apple iPhone and Research In Motion Blackberry family.

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