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Second Android handset delayed indefinitely

Agora shelved due to weedy screen

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The Kogan Agora, touted as the second Android handset and scheduled for an Australian launch in ten days, has been delayed indefinitely thanks to a low-resolution screen that prevents many Android applications working properly.

In a posting on the company blog Ruslan Kogan claims the handset had already started production, but that on seeing the applications in the Android Marketplace the company realised that the low-res screen of the Agora wouldn't support some of them, and decided to shelve the product pending a redesign.

It beggars belief that the company would have failed to think of this earlier, or that they would halt an in-progress production run on the grounds that some downloaded applications won’t work. Ruslan explains: "I cannot disappoint you by supplying a product that I am aware will shortly have significant limitations."

Without more evidence we are bound to take him at his word that the product was truly ready for market.

Screen resolutions are a problem for mobile development. Nokia tried hard to force the resolution of Series 60 devices, only to see Siemens adding 12 pixels to the SX1 - supposedly to have an always-on-screen menu bar, but with the side effect of enabling developers to create SX1-only applications.

Even Windows Mobile users can find their handset resolution limiting the applications they use - but most people cope with this, and no manufacturer has ever felt it necessary to shut down a manufacturing run because of a mis-matched resolution.

Android is supposed to be an open platform suitable for a whole range of devices. These are going to have a wide range of screen resolutions - developers are going to have to learn to use scalable graphics or limit their target audience.

Customers who pre-ordered an Agora will get a full refund, with a new version of the Agora promised some time in the coming months - once the company has had a chance to develop one. ®

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