Dec, 04 2008

The world will see the second Android phone in late January 2009 and Australians will enjoy its use on their carriers as Kogan today started pre-orders for the Kogan Agora Pro. For $399 Australian Bucks (US$256) you’ll get the unlocked phone for use on any Australian Carrier and a toned down (not even a camera) Kogan Agora is going for $299 Australian dollars (US$192).

That’s a heck of a price for an unlocked piece of Android, but considering the Kogan brand is relatively unknown it’s a price point that will better lure in more curious mobilists. Those that make the leap of faith can expect some of the following specs:

  • 3G Network
  • 2.5-inch LCD Touch Screen
  • 2MP Camera
  • QWERTY Keypad with back lighting
  • WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS
  • 624MHz processor
  • 256MB memory, 128MB Flash, MicroSD expansion

For $100 cheaper you give up the camera, WiFI and GPS. If you’re going to be an Android early adopter, chances are these are things you’ll want these things so dump out your piggy bank and ante up the extra hundy.

The company promised a $199 Android Phone by the end of 2008 – the phone is technically for sale in this calendar year but the price bump was needed due to the “the impact of the global financial crisis on currencies”. We forgive them… and we thank them for coming as close to making good on their promise as possible. The question is… will the phone deliver?

I’m sure half the people reading this are thinking, “Who the heck is Kogan?” Good question… I was thinking the same thing. The company is of an interesting breed – listen to how they define themselves:

Kogan is a new business philosophy that places customers at the top of the food chain. We eliminate all the “middle men” and pass the savings directly to you. We are a manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, and retailer all in one. By cutting out all the “middle men”, we provide the best possible products at the best possible price.

This is the kind of ingenuity that Android can encourage and to be honest, I’m wondering why companies all over the globe aren’t flocking to follow suit. Android is the ultimate equalizer. So how come Kogan was able to put out this Android Handset while companies like Motorola have 500 people working on it and will be empty handed until late next year?

It could be a number of reason starting with the possibility that the phone absolutely sucks. We’ll know the scoop on that in a couple months time, but seriously… it makes you wonder why there aren’t a flurry of Android handsets out by now, doesn’t it?

Kogan could use Android to capitalize in a big, big way and the door is wide open for other (relatively) small companies to do the same and compete with the “big dogs” on a global scale. Android is knocking down the barriers of entry for manufacturers which encourages a market where good ideas can out above the battle of the big budgets.

It should be pointed out that this will be the first mobile phone Kogan has ever released with the manufacturing being outsourced to China. For whatever that’s worth.

A few questions worthy of discussion:

  • Hey Australians, what is your experience with Kogan and what do you expect from the Kogan Agora Pro?
  • Hey Australians, will you pre-order the Agora, wait for reviews and then decide or simply not consider it?
  • Hey Ruslan Kogan, founder of Kogan, hook us up with a review copy that we can either rock on WiFi in the states or give a trusted Australian phandroid an early peek, will ya?
  • Hey everyone else, I didn’t want to leave you out so I made a 4th bullet, feel better?

INTERESTING FACT: We dug this up and didn’t find it elsewhere but the name Agora not only sounds cool but was chose for an obvious reason – it is defined as, “The public open space that formed the heart of ancient Greek cities and it’s the origin of most western conceptions of public, or civic, space as center of for social interaction for ceremony and democratic life on a pedestrian scale.”


[Via Kogan, ITWire, Engadget]

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