The much-hyped Google Android phone operating system will hit Australia on January 29, in the form of the Kogan Agora and Agora Pro.
As apparently the first handset provider to bring the Android platform to Australia, Kogan Technologies is cleverly piggybacking on existing hype about Google's open-source mobile phone platform.
The Android platform is currently available in the U.S. in the form of the T-Mobile G1. Much like the G1, the Kogan Agora phones pack a QWERTY keyboard--though no touch screen.
Unlike the G1, there will two models from Kogan, the Agora and the Agora Pro. For the extra 100 Australian dollars (about $66), the Pro offers Wi-Fi 802.11b/g, GPS, and a 2-megapixel camera. The GPS will enable integrated Google Maps.
By giving the OS away for free, Google has promised that the Android platform will bring down the price of handsets. With the price of the Agora handsets this looks to be true. For smartphones, both Agora phones are ridiculously cheap. At 299 Australian dollars for the Agora and 399 Australian dollars for the Agora Pro, these smartphones are about half the price of the cheapest smartphone we can think of, the Nokia E71.
With a 624MHz processor, the Agora phones also look like it will be a zippy smartphone. Storage is provided by the standard 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM combo, along with a microSD card slot.
Following the open-source ethos, the Agora handsets will come completely unlocked. Just pop your existing SIM and microSD cards, put your old phone on eBay, and off you go.
Alex Serpo of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney.