HTC Magic and the Goblet of Androids

No one knows spellbinding like the teen twizards from Harry Potter -- except the HTC Magic. We let Harry and the half-blood Cravers take the new Google Android phone for a wand-waving spin

We're under the spell of the HTC Magic, and it mysteriously appeared at Crave towers this morning in a puff of smoke and a shower of glitter. But is this glossy white beauty The Prestige or just some rubbish three-card monte?

No one knows the wonderful world of witches and wizards better than the brood in that kiddy Satanism manual, Harry Potter, and we were lucky enough to get the teen cast of the films in to look behind the Magic curtains -- or at least, some very talented impersonators. You may have read that Harry and his Scooby gang are being digitally aged in this summer's film to play themselves as adults. We're keeping it real instead with some lovely paper wands.

First there's the boy wizard himself. Just because he has some wonky face scar, he thinks he's all that, so he's desperate to get on the Web and check out his Facebook and Twitter.

Although the Magic is only the second phone with the Android operating system, there are already plenty of apps available for booking the face and spacing the my. Unsurprisingly for a Google phone, Web browsing is one of the Magic's strengths, and we liked the user interface once we got used to using the function buttons for things like going back and opening the menu, while going to the touchscreen for things like zooming.

Hermione is a massive nerd, so she likes to hack the system. For her there's the Android Market , which lets every geek and their uncle distribute their app, as long as it's not illegal or naked.

We found the app store easy to navigate, and there's some great stuff up there -- check out the Shop Savvy app as well as classics such as Last.fm. Although the division between paid and free apps isn't up-front, you can filter them from inside the menu.

Hagrid, whose beard is made of cookie for safety reasons, isn't the smartest tool in the shed. So when he needs to find the nearest hippogriff food store, he turns to Google Maps.

Google Maps works predictably well on the Magic, but we couldn't find the walking directions, and God knows Hagrid isn't allowed to drive -- he can barely see over that beard.

The one who can't be named, except on weekends and bank holidays, has his nose to the evil grindstone. He's a businessman with some bad-ass business to do. And that means Exchange Server and its malevolent minion, Outlook.

To do that, Baldemort needs to sync with the evil empire -- Microsoft (just kidding, Bill! Call me). But there's no native Exchange support in Android -- instead, Google is trying to tempt to us into its cloud.

To sync our Outlook calendar, for example, we had to install a calendar-syncing app on our Outlook-obsessed work PCs, which not every company would allow, and we could only sync the main calendar.

But thanks to the geeky Hermiones out there, there are several third-party apps that give Exchange-syncing ability to Android, and we'll be testing them soon, so stay tuned -- we'll let Ron handle that, as soon as we can find a ginger.

 

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