Kogan began accepting pre-orders for the second Android phone, the Kogan Agora Pro, which makes its debut in Australia for $399 AU ($256 US). Unlike T-Mobile's G1, this phone comes unlocked for use on any carrier. However, what's really interesting about this second coming of the Googlephone is it's resemblance to a Blackberry. Will the combination of the Blackberry-inspired keyboard with downloadable iPhone-esque apps be the killer combination?Starting today handset manufacturer
In addition to the Kogan Agora Pro, a toned down version called the Kogan Agora, will also be available for $299 AU ($192 US). The plain vanilla Agora won't include a camera, Wi-Fi, or GPS. Both phones arrive unlocked phone for use on any Australian Carrier and come standard with a 624 MHz processor, 128 MB RAM, a microSD slot, 3G network, a touch-sensitive 320×240 2.5" screen, Bluetooth, central navigation key, and a backlit full QWERTY keyboard.
Best of Both Worlds?
What's most appealing about the Kogan Agora, at least based on these specs, is its promise to deliver the "best of both worlds." It combines the apps and music of the iPhone with the form factor and keypad of Blackberry.
As much as some people love the iPhone, it's touch keyboard takes some getting used to. Some people never really get used to it - especially former Blackberry users or those who are comfortable with a two-hand typing experience. Switching to the iPhone is a move these folks need to think carefully about. Although they gain a combo media player/phone and applications galore at their fingertips, they have to sacrifice the typing experience they consider to be ideal. For heavy email users and texters, giving up the keyboard may be a deal-breaker.
Then along came Google's Android OS. Now you can have both music and apps and the possibility of using a real hardware-based keyboard. Unfortunately for Blackberry addicts, it first arrived on T-Mobile's G1 which came with a slideout keyboard. That was close, but it was hardly a recreation of the Blackberry experience.
The Kogan Agora, on the other hand, looks like the Blackberry (or perhaps the Blackjack) and includes all the Android goodness, too. Will this be the ideal combo? A Blackberry-esque media player that you can fill with downloadable apps? We'll have to wait and see once the phone arrives and reviews come in, but it definitely looks promising.