iPhonAsia comment: The TD Android phone is no surprise … we’ve blogged about this before and this has been in the works for many months.
Apple and China Mobile have been under a strict NDA and no iPhone in China deal announcement will likely be made until days before launch. Best guess for announcement timing is within the next 90 days. iPhonAsia anticipates (more guesswork) Apple iPhone deals with both China Mobile and China Unicom. The China Mobile announcement will likely come 3 to 6 months before the China Unicom announcement.
More iPhonAsia commentary re China Mobile and Google > HERE
China Mobile (0941.HK), the world’s largest wireless carrier, plans to launch a 3G handset built on the Android platform in the first quarter, a source with direct knowledge of the issue said on Friday.
The handset, named “OPhone”, will be the first phone in China that features Google’s (GOOG.O) Android operating system and will use China’s homegrown third-generation mobile network, the source said.
Lenovo Mobile, a former mobile phone unit of Lenovo Group (0992.HK), is the maker of the phone, said the source who requested anonymity ahead of the product’s official release.
“The product is in the final testing stage at the moment,” the source said.
A spokesman from China Mobile in Beijing declined to comment.
China Mobile acquired a licence to develop TD-SCDMA networks on Wednesday when Beijing handed out long-awaited 3G licences to its three state-run carriers. [ID:nL7330594]
TD-SCDMA technology, which is domestically developed and heavily backed by Beijing, has seen slow progress since China Mobile started test trials last year. The lack of handsets is one of the major obstacles.
So far, there are only dozens of TD-SCDMA handsets available. Most of them are domestically made, with a small portion carrying international brands, such as Motorola (MOT.N), Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) andLG Electronics (066570.KS).
Google introduced the world’s first Andriod-based phone last September.