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Agora Android Phone Delayed By Glitches 84

Posted by timothy
from the to-not-get-what-you-don't-pay-for dept.
An anonymous reader points out this report at News.com.au which says that "THE first Australian 'Google phone' set to go on sale within weeks has been delayed indefinitely, with the manufacturer Kogan forced to refund early buyers. In a statement released this afternoon, the company said the delay was 'due to future interoperability issues.'The Agora reached a very late stage of development, manufacturing had commenced and we were within days of shipping the product to customers,' company founder Ruslan Kogan said in a statement."
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Agora Android Phone Delayed By Glitches

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  • I noticed the low screen resolution, but didn't think it would really be a problem... In fact, I thought it led to the phone being so cheap.

    My current phone is dying, too... I was really looking forward to getting my Agora Pro at the end of the month.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      Glad I held my purchase =P

      Both for this reason and because it's always risky to be the first one to buy a thing in case it sucks. It's better to let someone else try it out for you first :)

      • Glad I held my purchase =P

        i think there is a refund, so no real damage ... but i hope for an update to this story, i.e. a new delivery date.

      • Re:Damn it! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Aladrin (926209) on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:11AM (#26480815)

        phatsphere's correct. All the pre-orders are being refunded within the next 7 days, so none of us are out anything.

        I will admit that I was taking a big chance on a company I'd never heard of with a product that was a lot cheaper than I thought it should be. I doubt the next version of the phone will be so cheap, now.

        I really wish they'd just sold me the phone... Or given me the option.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aliquis (678370)

          I don't think 400 dollar is that cheap, with shipping and Swedish VAT it will become a quite normal price for a decent phone over here, not at all unreasonable.

          Cheaper than a phone and 24 months subscription cost for a huge volume subscription? Yes, but not very cheap for the hardware in question.

          • by Aladrin (926209)

            As the others have noted, it was AUD, not USD. That made the pro $250 plus shipping, which was another $50. $300 for a phone that did (almost) everything I wanted is very reasonable. My last couple phones cost more than that.

            Almost: It had no accelerometer. That's a huge feature for me.

            • by aliquis (678370)

              Wasn't it 299 or 399 + shipping (or including australian shipping, cost 48 aud or something for shipping to Sweden in any case, above those 299 or 399. Also I don't remember the extra features in pro but I would had paid 100 more to get them (GPS among other things, right?))

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My current phone is dying, too...

      Please be responsible how you bury it. We have a global cooling crisis here in the US. The gallium arsenide in your cell phone adversely alters the magnetic convection current of the Earth once exposed to air. Please, be responsible.

      --Sal Bore

  • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller@nOsPAM.daimi.au.dk> on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:27AM (#26480567)

    From the annuncement:

    Mr Kogan said one of the potential problems was applications with a higher resolution and screen size than what the Agora could handle.
    "I now believe that in order to access all the Android platform has to offer, the Agora must be redesigned."

    What?? I don't belive that someone a few days before release, find out that they need a higher resolution screen. I only thought the software business were that fucked.

    • by Aladrin (926209) on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:04AM (#26480781)

      Why don't you believe it? I see 2 different ways this could happen:

      1) Someone finds a few apps that don't work at low res at all... Good apps like Google Earth or something.

      2) The programmers assure him that it can be handled right up until the end, when they are forced to admit they can't do it after all because they finally found the fatal flaw in the plan.

      As a programmer, I've had both things happen to me during a project. The first is just oversight and the second is usually due to some asinine quirk in the API that can't be worked around.

      • by Oswald (235719) on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:39AM (#26481003)
        I think you just said, "Of course this can happen -- because even though its a device manufacturer, they still have to deal with the fucked up world of software." Nice rejoinder.
      • by itsdapead (734413) on Friday January 16, 2009 @10:00AM (#26481145)

        The programmers assure him that it can be handled right up until the end, when they are forced to admit they can't do it after all because they finally found the fatal flaw in the plan.

        Or, alternatively, 3 days before shipping, the Pointy Haired Boss is finally forced to accept that the "political and economic realities" he's been trying to explain to the programmers for the last 3 months really are less important than those silly, geeky "laws of physics" which the programmers keep babbling about, and that all the unpaid overtime in the world won't produce a software patch that puts more pixels on the LCD.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by AmberBlackCat (829689)
          Regardless of whose fault it is, they did one thing right that no American company or Sony would ever do. That is, after they realized their product wasn't ready, they actually went back to the drawing board instead of shipping the thing anyway.
      • Google Earth? You're thinking of the iPhone, that isn't out for Android.
    • Considering that apple sold ibooks with 1024x768 resolution in the early OS X days, when that was about enough real estate to get a console window and a few icons on, I can believe it easily. The question for me is, which of these happened:

      a) Google told them that they needed higher res, and they ignored it. Then they finally realised Google were right.

      b) Google didn't specify android's resolution requirements highly enough, and devs went ahead and created an ad-hoc standard with the res they needed to ma

      • by itsdapead (734413)

        Considering that apple sold ibooks with 1024x768 resolution in the early OS X days, when that was about enough real estate to get a console window and a few icons on, I can believe it easily.

        I've just tried and you can fit 4 OSX terminals on a 1024x768 display. If a slashdotter can't do it with 4 parallel bash sessions it isn't worth doing.

        When I were a lad, we ran GUIs on 640x256 in 256 colours and we was grateful for it. Heck, people run Linux/Gnome on EEEPC 700s!

        • Heck, people run Linux/Gnome on EEEPC 700s!

          Yeah but not everything works. Thunderbird & Lightning is unusable.

          Pete Boyd

          • by itsdapead (734413)

            Yeah but not everything works. Thunderbird & Lightning is unusable.

            I've used Thunderbird on an EEE 701 and I think "unusable" is going a bit too far. Main problem ISTR is that, for the account setup dialogues, you need to know the alt-drag trick to pan the window around the screen - but once it was set up it was OK. Evolution on EasyPeasy [geteasypeasy.com] <SideshowBob>(shudder)</SideshowBob> is the same.

            Of course, if Asus hadn't drunk the Kool Aid and lost interest in Linux on the EEE, tightening up the dialogue boxes on the key apps would hardly take a Manhattan Project.

    • When I first saw the announcements about this phone... from a manufacturer nobody heard of, with a very rapid release schedule, and a set pricing scheme, but only a 3D rendering of the product, to me it screamed "scam". Now, I couldn't say whether it was a scam that was aimed at customer money, or investor money, but the outcome does not surprise me at all. After all, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >> the Agora must be redesigned

      And possibly renamed to "Depois". :-)

  • Good... (Score:1, Troll)

    by tcdk (173945)
    ... nice to see somebody who don't just ship the product and then hope to fix issues with later software updates. I was going to mention the IPhone here, but I actually couldn't think of a phone that didn't have issues on initial release. So I won't.... Oh, I guess I already did...
  • Real Story? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Idiomatick (976696) on Friday January 16, 2009 @08:51AM (#26480723)

    What's the real story? Nobody goes into production without atleast you know having 1 prototype... They could have tried it first... It like a pretty serious obvious issue if it causes indefinite delays...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      something is the matter. The original design of the phone was OK'd for production and no one ever took a look at what everyone else's minimum screen size/resolution or checked the spec sheet for max supported resolution? Engineers should never have overlooked something so obvious. This smells like fiasco to me. If it was an "honest" mistake, I really hope no one is dumb enough to buy one.. A company that fucked up will certainly not be responsible with my money.

      • Engineers should never have overlooked something so obvious.

        I don't think it was overlooked. Based on what this guy said [slashdot.org], I think maybe something changed at the last minute. Maybe they couldn't get the screens they originally spec'd and changed to an alternate source just before production? I've heard that this happens a lot in the cellphone/smartphone business.

  • I have to say January 29th has had quite the jaded history [history.com] including the death of Robert Frost and GWB's declaring the "axis of evil". At least we can celebrate the inception of the first baseball hall of famers. Now add to the list, "this is the day the agora android was suppose to release, but failed citing future interoperability."
  • how it happened (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:25AM (#26480909)

    A couple of guys came from Google. Our CEO had been waiting for them by the door. someone says they went straight to a meeting room and were there for less than 20 minutes. no one saw them leave, but as soon as they were gone our CEO called a meeting. He looked very pale. he said: "I've halted the production on the Android phones." he said we were not to ship any of the products that have already rolled off. he told us to cancel all orders and refund all pre-orders. then he left the building with the marketing director.

    Our CEO has not been back since then. This must be big.

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:34AM (#26480957) Homepage Journal

      Our CEO has not been back since then. This must be big.

      Wow. I hate to break the news to you, but I think that it's likely that he got eaten by grue [slashdot.org].

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Funny thing is... one of those Google guys reportedly threw a chair.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Two of them? Two by two? Were they wearing blue gloves?

    • by Locutus (9039)

      ya, Microsoft purchased Google. But really, wouldn't this make more sense if those two guys were MSiBs? That CEO was already quite friendly with Steve Ballmer so it was quite a surprise they'd announce an Android phone in the first place.

      LoB

    • by Yfrwlf (998822)
      If this is true, and somehow Google decided not to allow Android on the phone (without forking/renaming it or whatnot), for whatever reason, it's too bad they didn't pick something else to put on it like OpenMoko or whatnot. They obviously already had the drivers for it, so there wouldn't have been an issue there.

      Regardless, it's sad that programs aren't being programmed to be flexible enough to support most any screen resolution. When working with phones, being able to support small resolutions should
  • "I emailed the company about this charge and received confirmation that it was indeed not a scam and the device was going to be shipped in January. It looks like they did try hard to get a device out, but they werenâ(TM)t very experienced with the requirements and were designing a device that did not fit the minimum specs for an Android phone."

  • by Lord Byron II (671689) on Friday January 16, 2009 @09:45AM (#26481055)

    Release it and then just patch it repeatedly for months on end, fixing some things and breaking others in the process. Eventually, say the phone is past the end-of-life and instead of fixing anything, suggest that your customers buy your newest phone.

    This seems to work for most other businesses.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Tamran (1424955)

      What kind of software patches increase screen resolution?

      • What kind of software patches increase screen resolution?

        How dare you question him!?! Can't you see that his UID is less than half yours? He clearly knows more about this stuff than you.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Cysgod (21531)

          What kind of software patches increase screen resolution?

          How dare you question him!?! Can't you see that his UID is less than half yours? He clearly knows more about this stuff than you.

          Clearly. Through empirical evidence we can see that the cutoff is not half your UID, but an order of magnitude less.
          _..-* The More You Know

          Slightly more seriously, who puts something like a phone up for sale without testing with some engineering prototypes first? And then still has not tested with prototypes before going to manufacture?

          Presuming gross ignorance rather than malice as the culprit here seems to stretch credibility some. Does Australia have class-action lawsuits? If so, several lawyers will pro

          • Clearly. Through empirical evidence we can see that the cutoff is not half your UID, but an order of magnitude less.
            _..-* The More You Know


            Wait a second. Are we saying that Taco is omniscient?!? *shudder*
            • by Cysgod (21531)

              Clearly. Through empirical evidence we can see that the cutoff is not half your UID, but an order of magnitude less.

              _..-* The More You Know

              Wait a second. Are we saying that Taco is omniscient?!? *shudder*

              Unfortunately for him, the counter can overflow.

          • Nice shooting star!

    • According to the FTA, when does high resolution apps create "interoperability" issues? When I hear that word, I'm think ok, MS Dll vs. elf or XML vs. Binary (hard problems but can be fixed). And when does high resolution apps stop a phone's basic function? Android has no minimium resolution requirements, maybe some apps do, but not the OS.

      .

      ok, so it can't run Google Apps or Google Earth, you have the source, prevent a use to start those apps (or diasble/remove them) and write your own email client and so

  • My guess is that they feel their product wouldn't be competitive with the soon to be released in Australia G1, and they don't want to support just a handful of customers- that doesn't give them economies of scale.

    I've made an Android app, and I was dreading trying to make it usable for the smaller screen (although I have found the Android layout model very flexible).

  • Well Australia was a prison colony...maybe they were just sticking to their roots and trying to rip off Europeans and nerdy American types using T-Mobile or AT&T? Either way I blame Hugh Jackman for this. WOLVERINE!!!!
  • by ruiner13 (527499) on Friday January 16, 2009 @11:52AM (#26482505) Homepage
    And doesn't want to go outside where it can meet up with nice hot little software numbers. Just maybe.
  • by recharged95 (782975) on Friday January 16, 2009 @02:20PM (#26484675) Journal
    This will kill Kogan's company.

    .

    He brings back the old x86 days when off-brand companies like his tout 'cold fusion' and deliver vaporware.

    .

    Really a total disservice to the F/OSS community. I was worried about Koolu, but because they published their modifed stack and distro it showed commitment and was acceptable for them to be late to delivery (and they still are late though after promising a Dec release date). Kogan has done no such thing, just demo-ing a phone mockup at trade shows...

    .

    Kogan, having a closed demo strategy (no beta testers?), holding to all the press releases, tech details and tooling around with a single phone that for all I know was showing a flash app is asking for some major b*tchslapping from the community. And now abrupt about the details of shutting down production & refunds, providing zero details is an insult to the Android community. If Google was involved and led to a legal issue, okay, mentioned it at least, but if it was technical, the community deserves to know the details.

    This is not good for the Android community and [we] sure better find out why production was stopped. Was this:

    • A h/w technical issue? (resolution problem? okay, postpone final and release a handful in beta! This is where the F/OSS community can help...)
    • A software issue? (releasing it with RC28?, or some huge bug?, okay, publish YOUR Android portion of your stack and we'll [the community] will fix it! F/OSS is all about helping or at least free advice)
    • A design issue? (you guys forked the Android stack?--big no no at this time).
    • A legal issue? (hackibility, Google, MS)?
    • A F/OSS issue? (not following the license)
    • Lying about features? (ok, now you screwed up!)
    • Vaporware that would damage the Android brand?
  • The page with details about the phone is still in Google's cache [74.125.95.132].

    The Agora display specs: "2.5-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 262K QVGA (320 X 240 pixel) resolution."

    This is a significant drop from the G1: "3.2 in (81 mm) HVGA (480×320) (180 ppi) 65K color capacitive touchscreen."

    Still, if there is a minimum resolution for Android, you'd think that would have been discovered as an issue long before the manufacturing stage. Perhaps the problem is that app developers have assumed that any

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Perhaps the problem is that app developers have assumed that any phone released after the G1 would have matching or better specs.

      I'd certainly hope that all subsequent phones released after the G1 meet or exceed its specs. Random, weird screen resolutions and wild hardware differences only promise to stick Android with the same issues Windows Mobile suffers from having PC-like diversity in hardware: app development and support becomes a nightmare.

      This is one reason that developers have jumped on the iPhone

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm working day to day with the Android SDK and Emulator. The Eclipse plugin ships configured for QVGA-L (320x240) and QVGA-P (240x320) in addition to the HVGA resolutions.

      I have wondered if I really needed to worry about the lower rez models, this is another thing helping me lean in the direction of HVGA or higher. Wonder what else will happen in this space this year.

  • Windows. ;-) Didn't I read that this telecom was already in bed with Microsoft and even had the CEO or some other big-wig dissing on Google and Android?

    Money talks so don't put it out of your head that there wasn't some kickbacks from Microsoft to keep them tied to Microsoft. We know Microsoft has bank accounts and/or budgets setup just for funding these kinds of things.

    LoB

  • by cyn1c77 (928549)

    "THE first Australian 'Google phone' set to go on sale within weeks has been delayed indefinitely, with the manufacturer Kogan forced to refund early buyers. In a statement released this afternoon, the company said the delay was 'due to future interoperability issues.'The Agora reached a very late stage of development, manufacturing had commenced and we were within days of shipping the product to customers,' company founder Ruslan Kogan said in a statement."

    Future interoperability issues? What the fuck does that mean? That it won't run Duke Nukem Forever?

    Let me translate: We advertised a vaporware product and then took money from a lot of people to build a it. Then we designed the phone. Then we tried to build it and realized we didn't have a clue.

    Fail.

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