Second Android handset delayed indefinitely
Agora shelved due to weedy screen
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. ®