HTC have today launched their latest Android operating system phone, the HTC Magic. This is their second touchscreen phone with the Google Android OS, the previous model, the HTC Dream, was released in February this year.

HTC MagicThe Magic phone will run the latest version of the Android OS, version 1.5, commonly known as ‘Cupcake’, which offers video record/playback, new Webkit browser, and performance improvements over Android v1.0. One welcome performance upgrade will be the battery life. The battery in the Magic is no bigger than the Dream’s, but the new Android OS will give the Magic, according to HTC, “a slight improvement” over the extreme battery pig that was the Dream.

A big change from the Dream is the keyboard. Gone is the slide-out QWERTY keyboard, instead the Magic relies totally on an on-screen keyboard, which uses the phone’s accelerometer and aligns in either portrait or landscape mode, depending upon the orientation of the phone in your hand.

The Magic will be sold by both Vodafone and 3 Mobile, with a few subtle differences, a big one being that the Vodafone will be branded Google. Also, firmware updates for Vodafone customers will be over the air, whereas 3 Mobile users will do so attaching to a computer. Also, the Vodafone HTC Magic will have the ability to geotag photos taken with the phone.

Price and availability

Both 3 Mobile and Vodafone will have the HTC Magic in-store in mid-June. In fact Vodafone have just confirmed by email a date of June 15. Vodafone will have the Magic in 2 colours, black and white, with the white being exclusive to Vodafone.

Neither carrier has yet released price and plan details – 3 Mobile promised details by midday, but they are late on their promise. Vodafone have not given any announcement on price – I guess what we have here is a game of smartphone brinkmanship.

Update – 3 Mobile pricing

3 Mobile's pricing details for the HTC Magic

Update – Vodafone pricing

Vodafone pricing for the HTC Magic mobile phone

Review

Since publishing this story, we’ve had a chance to put the phone through its paces – read our full review of the HTC Magic.