Vodafone: Android could appear without Google

The HTC Magic - coming 1 May on Vodafone
The HTC Magic - coming 1 May on Vodafone

Vodafone has confirmed that it has been looking at other Android phones in order to complement the new HTC Magic, which will be launching in stores from 1 May, and also hinted that Android might appear without Google in the future.

Speaking to TechRadar, Rachel Williams from Vodafone highlighted the fact that while the HTC Magic contains all the Google features we've come to expect tightly integrated, like Google Mail, future offerings might be more of a 'basic' package, where networks will want to put their own clients on there instead.

This might prove a little confusing for the public, many of whom have warmed to the idea of an Android handset due to their familiarity with Google.

More Android

Williams also confirmed there are more Android handsets likely from the red network: "We're looking at other Android devices, by joining the Open Handset Alliance it shows our commitment [to ranging other devices using Android]."

This echoes comments previously made by both Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, and Patrick Chomet, global director of terminals at Vodafone:

"We're really pleased to have the HTC Magic, and we'll continue to work hard with HTC and Google to develop and recognise the potential of platform; we're really excited by the quality of the experience," said Chomet.

However, there's a good chance that the current climate of exclusive Android deals will come to an end soon, as both Vodafone and T-Mobile are currently battling it out on the Android front.

As Williams pointed out: "In some other territories we've chosen not to have the Magic as an exclusive," and there's a possibility that the current deal may expire this year, allowing other manufacturers to range the Magic too.

The HTC Magic will be available in Vodafone stores from Friday 1 May, although customers are able to get a £5 discount on the £35 a month tariff by choosing to buy it online, albeit locked into a 24 month contract.

Magic changes

We brought you a hands on with the device back in February, and since then Williams confirmed there have been some slight changes to the phone itself.

For instance, the 'iconic' Android clock is now defaulted to a Google search bar, and a new dedicated search key has been added to the front of the device.

Also, on the IM front, the variety of clients has been wiped down to just one, and that's unsurprisingly Google Talk.

Williams also claimed that the decision to range the HTC Magic wasn't merely down to the fact Vodafone 'needed' an Android device, instead stating that it was more the package which enticed it.

"When we looked at the device, HTC were part of the decision [to range it]. Anyone can create an ugly device [running Android], but we were equally impressed with the phone and the OS, and we're very pleased with the results."

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.