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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Google I/O Ion phone

Ion phone back

Ion phone: Thin with a chin

Ion home screen

Ion in hand

Android splash screen

Android mascot

Google account

Ion's software keyboard

Ion's word suggestions

Black Ion

Google handed out thousands of HTC-built, Android-powered, unlocked Ion phones to attendees of its Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The phone, HTC's Magic, embodies Google's hopes for a mobile Web that matches the sophistication of what people get with PCs.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
Google branded the developer-oriented Ion phone with its own logo. It comes with a camera, the lens of which is shown here on the back. The Android 1.5 software enables video, too.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
The phone won't win any awards for being the slimmest, but it's reasonably thin. At the bottom is the upward-curving "chin" that also is on the initial G1 Android phone that T-Mobile sells in the United States.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
Android phone users will find the home screen of the Ion familiar. The interface can be customized with extra icons and, new for Android 1.5, various widgets beyond the clock and search box that shipped with the initial Android 1.0 and 1.1.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
The Ion is narrower than Apple's iPhone, making it more similar in shape to other mobile phones. The Ion has the same buttons as the G1, aka the HTC Dream, but also gets a search button on the right.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
The Android text logo shows during the phone startup, but it's not the only Android branding Ion users will see.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
The initial startup process shows the Android mascot and begins a tutorial of the phone's features.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
Don't have a Google account? You'll need one for using Ion. The phone syncrhonizes with Gmail, Google Contacts, and other services.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
The ion phone features a software keyboard. Because the phone is narrower than the iPhone, the buttons are somewhat smaller, but otherwise iPhone users will find the keyboard modes familiar.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
One difference compared to the iPhone's keyboard is that Android will suggest various completions of a word.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
The Ion phone has a polished black exterior with a blue rim around the edge.
Caption by / Photo by Stephen Shankland/CNET
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