Taiwan’s largest mobile phone service provider will launch the iPhone 3G in December, a deal that may foretell a launch in China soon.
The company indicated that it will be part of the third round of Apple’s global iPhone 3G rollout.
Apple in late August concluded the second phase by adding 21 new countries to the iPhone 3G fold, including Argentina, Estonia, Slovakia and Uruguay.
Taiwanese mobile phone service providers never launched the original iPhone because a Chinese language input system for the device had not yet been developed. Two Taiwanese executives at the time said the iPhone would launch in China first because the Chinese language input system, Pinyin, would be finished before the one for Taiwan, Zhuyin (Bopomofo).
The announcement of the iPhone 3G in Taiwan means the Chinese language systems for both the China version and Taiwan version are likely finished.
There have been other signs an iPhone 3G deal may be nearing completion in China.
A few Web sites that closely track Apple said the company posted a job listing for an iPhone quality assurance engineer in Beijing.
But the link they supply to Apple’s Web site goes to a page that says, ‘This job is no longer posted.’
A Chinese language input system makes a big difference to operators in Chinese speaking nations.
The company that launched the BlackBerry in Taiwan last year blamed slow sales on a lack of Chinese (Zhuyin) input software. Executives at Taiwan Mobile said it could have sold three times as many of the handsets had they come with a Chinese input system.