Voila! Android appears at MWC: Vodafone debuts HTC Magic

On Monday, there was no Android. On Tuesday, there was. It's Magic.

Vodafone launched the HTC Magic, the handset maker's second phone based on Google's Android platform, finally bringing a true Android device launch to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The HSPA/WCDMA phone features a 3.2-inch touchscreen with a full virtual QWERTY keyboard, doing away with the T-Mobile G1's slide-out keyboard. The form factor also is much sleeker than the G1, which was criticized for its clunky form factor. The phone has a trackball, WiFi and features all of the Google mobile applications.

HTC said the phone would be available in its first Vodafone markets in March, but pricing and availability details would not be released until later. The phone will be released first exclusively in the U.K., Spain, Germany and France and non-exclusively in Italy.

Jason Mackenzie, vice president of sales and marketing for HTC America, told FierceWireless that the user experience would be very similar to that of the G1. He also said that HTC's strategy for Android was the same as its strategy for Windows Mobile, even though the emphasis with HTC's WinMo launches Monday focused on how people communicate, and much of Android remains application-centric.

Mackenzie said HTC wanted to "develop a broad portfolio that's attractive" to a wide group of people, and that strategy is continued with its latest Android launch. He said regardless of the platform, HTC will focus on the way people live when it designs phones, and bring "core competencies" across all of its platforms.

The move puts HTC ahead of other handset vendors in terms of Android development and market presence. Samsung has confirmed its Android plans are still on track for the second half of the year. LG has said it will deliver Android handsets later this year and Motorola has promised an Android phone in the fourth quarter.

For more:
- see this release
- see the phone's specs
- see these pictures

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