The Null Device


The launch of the Kogan Agora Android phones has been postponed indefinitely, apparently due to "interoperability issues" of some sort. The Agora and Agora Pro, from an Australian outfit named Kogan (who, until now, have apparently been best known for cheap LCD TVs or similar) were meant to launch at the end of January, but now this will not happen. Which means that the T-Mobile G1 won't have any competition for a while longer yet.

I was thinking of buying an Agora Pro as my next phone (my Nokia 6230i—go ahead, laugh—is getting a bit long in the tooth), though with the announcement of the Palm Prē, I was having second thoughts. Now I suspect I may wait for the Prē to come out.

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After having seen the influence of internet-organised grass-roots campaigning in getting Barack Obama elected, Britain's Labour Party has decided it wants some of that, and so has launched Modelled on the American liberal site the Huffington Post, LabourList is intended as an online community for the "progressive left" to tear the Tories to pieces on with merciless lampoonery and discuss progressive, left-wing issues — within the scope of New Labour platform, of course.

LabourList's administrators insist that the site is editorially independent of the party, and denies that it is part of an Alastair Campbell-style "command and control" media strategy. However, the dearth of articles or comments critical of New Labour policy, and a strict moderation policy, have cast some doubt on this. Would this site post articles condemning the expansion of Heathrow, for example, or the ID Card plan which the government has been pushing hard?

I suspect that LabourList won't have the sort of grass-roots effect as the online Obama campaign. For one, Labour is the incumbent party, and an unpopular one at that. For the past 11 or so years, it has been making hay out of inevitably being the lesser evil to the despised Tories, and using this to get away with everything from presiding over the growth of wealth inequality (an Old Labour no-no, to be sure) to the Iraq war to the steady erosion of civil liberties, knowing that there was no-one else the disaffected could vote for. After all this, this old trick is no longer working as well as it did, and I suspect that a few viral videos poking fun at the Tories aren't going to recharge it. Especially that, in a lot of areas, the Tories' policies look more progressive, on paper, than Labour's.

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