Google Android set to battle Apple iPhone in China

Apple Online Store “Google is set to go head-to-head with Apple in China as the country’s largest mobile operator prepares to launch a range of customised smartphones based on Google’s Android operating system,” Kathrin Hille reports for The Financial Times.

“China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, will fire the opening shot in a battle for high-value subscribers with the launch of the 3G OPhone, which runs the Android source code,” Hille reports.

MacDailyNews Take: 3G OPhone? Shouldn’t the proper rip-off be “oPhone 3G?” China Mobile could send out a press release proclaiming “We’re derivative losers!” but it’d be less effective at delivering the message than them trying to market a “3G OPhone.”

Hille continues, “The launch of the OPhone by China Mobile comes as smaller rival China Unicom is nearing an exclusive agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in China for three years. A deal with Apple would give China Unicom a powerful tool to poach young mobile users from the market leader.”

“The OPhone, the first of China Mobile’s 3G smartphones, is made by Lenovo Mobile . The OPhone could launch as early as next week provided the marketing is ready, sources close to Lenovo Mobile said,” Hille reports.

“Apple held talks with China Mobile about potential iPhone distribution in the past, but the two could not agree on how to share revenues,” Hille reports. “China Unicom, the country’s second wireless operator, last week denied Chinese media reports that it had sealed a deal with Apple, but said there had been progress in the talks. Unicom is expected to offer the device when it launches its country-wide 3G services in September or October.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wáng meets his friend on the street, sees him poking at a handheld device, and asks excitedly, “Hey, Zhāng, you got a new iPhone?!” Zhāng replies sheepishly, “No… this is an OPhone.” Wáng apologizes, “O? Oh, sorry.” Zhāng, beginning to slink away, says, “Not half as sorry as I am.”


  1. the “oh, no!” Phone
    with Google being in the pocket of the insidious leadership of Red China, I am sure that there are many APIs in Android’s OS that permit surveillance and monitoring of its users. Good luck with that.

  2. Well, since it’s China Mobile, this would be China’s homegrown version of 3G, TD-SCDMA which has yet to work well and isn’t selling very well, and one of the reasons why pundits have been saying that Apple is more likely to strike a deal with China Unicom, which uses the GSM WCDMA standard that Apple uses.

  3. This should be interesting. The iPhone is a very mature product with rapidly growing apps. Many that are free. (That is right, you will not have to pirate them in China. That will be a new user experience in China.)

    Apple is after the hardware and some of the software and has 1/3 of the profit in the smart phone market. So, what does Google get in this? Apple will halo the rest of their products and services in China. Apple already links to Google services.

  4. And, I would point out that China Mobile was forced to use TD-SCDMA by government fiat. I believe they asked the government to be allowed to use both TD-SCDMA and GSM WCDMA, because TD-SCDMA has not been working very well.

  5. A phone with Google’s Android was going to come out regardless of when the iPhone came out. You have to remember that Apple isn’t just dealing with another country here, it’s China. Communist China, which still blocks parts of the internet. There was a big struggle over who would control the App Store, Apple or the chinese mobile phone carrier. Apple was correct in not distributing the iPhone in China unless it controlled the App Store.

    It is also rumored that the iPhone won’t have WiFi in China, which would involve production line changes as well as time to negotiate.

  6. <i> Shouldn’t the proper rip-off be “oPhone 3G?<>

    Just remember, in Chinese, the last name comes first.

    (OK, so what Westerners call “last name” is the family name, and in Chinese, the family name is more important and thus is first.)

  7. Not sure about this, but have suspicions – challenge others to verify/refute, ok ?

    Believe Google, like Microsoft and Yahoo, made “deals” with China Gov. to allow Software/Hardware “modifications” (or “enhancements” in newspeak?) so the China Gov. could keep up with the phone calls and email by all those pesky rabble rousers who dare to expect they can have some kind of privacy in their conversations about freedom or democracy.

    But again …

    Not sure about this, but have suspicions – challenge others to verify/refute, ok ?

    And Apple better not travel same path ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”mad” style=”border:0;” />


  8. Fact is China doesn’t want to pay for anything they can steal. It’s absolutely no surprise Apple has not negotiated an acceptable deal with any Chinese Telecom, and the fact is they probably won’t get as good a deal as they have in any other major country already signed.

  9. O? phone, wow must have missed that one, did they also come out with mexico’s jpod? If you’re coming out with products that, right off the bat, mimic the iphone name, you’re in big trouble as it is, couldn’t come up with one on their own aye? Next thing you know there will be a Gphone with bling on it, I think their biggest dumb move comes from that they probably didn’t expect Apple to already be cutting a deal to sell iPhones in the region. They just though they would introduce it to an iPhone free market first because they knew they wouldn’t have a chance, I guess it’s the O phone because the O stands for O crap, it’s not an iPhone, I’ve been gipped.

  10. There are some factors that may need to be consider why they don’t offer Iphones in China. First Apple may not be able to get telecommunications company there to get partnership for marketing the handset. Second China may be working on a different frequency w/c is not compatible with the Iphone. If you really like the iphone, I will recommend you buy it from somewhere else but make sure it is genuine. Say in the United States then have it unlocked so you can use China sim cards.Surveillance

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