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Google I/O Ion phone

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.
Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Ion phone back

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Ion phone: Thin with a chin

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Ion home screen

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Ion in hand

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Android splash screen

The Android text logo shows during the phone startup, but it's not the only Android branding Ion users will see.

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Android mascot

The initial startup process shows the Android mascot and begins a tutorial of the phone's features.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Google account

Don't have a Google account? You'll need one for using Ion. The phone syncrhonizes with Gmail, Google Contacts, and other services.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Ion's software keyboard

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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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Ion's word suggestions

One difference compared to the iPhone's keyboard is that Android will suggest various completions of a word.

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Black Ion

The Ion phone has a polished black exterior with a blue rim around the edge.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Stephen Shankland/CNET
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