Posts Tagged ‘Android’

iPhone in China deal FUD 

NOTE: Lead buried at post’s end – Beijing Apple iPhone job posting

iphone-china-unicom-111I’ve been picking up some rather annoying buzz about a story on China’s NBD.com (use Google translate). The NBD.com post states that Apple and China Unicom “are not making progress in negotiations” and iPhone is “now less important in China Unicom’s strategy.”  This story and several other regurgitated articles — Marbridge Consulting, Trading Markets, etc. — are being read by institutions and hedge funds that trade in Apple (AAPL) shares. These institutions are being spoon-fed pure FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).

My research suggests that the deal is still a “go” and will be announced before end of July. The official launch of iPhone in China will likely be later this summer. wifi-music-store-headerThe only wildcard that could delay launch is Apple’s possible inclusion of China’s WAPI encryption layered over WiFi. There has been no good visibility on Apple’s WAPI plans, so my guess is as good as the flip of a coin – WAPI/WiFi yes or no?  WAPI/WiFi would require a special production run* of iPhone for China.

I believe the current “deal stalled” stories are coming as a result of China Unicom’s recently announced plans to develop UniPlus, their own mobile operating system (an Android recode) and UPhone, a customized Android-based handset. I first wrote about this in April and more recently here > China Unicom and China Mobile unveil operating systems.

China Unicom’s UniPlus/UPhone have been in the works for many months. This move mirrors and matches China Mobile’s Android OPhones and their proprietary OPhone mobile operating system (MOS) which is still under intense development. China Unicom had to respond in kind. In late March, I engaged in a lengthy public debate with Dr. Cheng Dejie, a senior telecom analyst in China, about the carriers’ move to develop their own MOS and proprietary handsets > read Apple’s iPhone in China Negotiations

china-unicom-to-offer-iphone-and-g1-in-chinaThe recent media reports seem to infer that UniPlus/UPhone will leave no shelf-space for iPhone as China’s carriers are now attempting to Appleize** their own wireless platforms. In the case of China Mobile, that may well be true (at least in 2009). In the case of China Unicom? Well, yes, they’re also Appleizing** but they are smart enough to know that “me too” UPhones may not be compelling enough to grab market share away from China Mobile. Hence, they will partner with Apple to offer an official iPhone in China. UPhones and iPhones can exist side-by-side in China Unicom’s Vsens.com inventory. The Chinese consumer will ultimately pick the winners.

iphone-south-koreaNow that I’ve buried the lead, hear it is … Today’s (June 10, 2009) Apple Job Posting – Program Manager, Beijing China. Duties: Responsible for supporting and managing iPhone Training Program across Asia. Responsibilities will include working with all carrier partners that sell iPhone to implement and design training programs. Individual will work with the Apple Sales Teams on planning and training retail channel partner personnel on selling iPhone.

Still believe the iPhone in China deal is in jeopardy? Smart money says it’s coming soon!

2545_hwr* iPhonAsia has long theorized that China would have a special production run of iPhone that might include several pre-loaded apps for China (e.g. Youku vs Youtube). The new model iPhone 3GS unveiled at WWDC already supports (w touch of globe icon) 30 different languages, including both simplified and traditional Chinese. Apple’s iPhone in China will also support Chinese character recognition whereby users draw Chinese characters with predictive capability.               

Read > Apple buys rights to HWPen from Hanwang************


**Appleizing = Carriers attempt to offer cool customized smartphones with a proprietary mobile operating system (MOS) designed to promote their own wireless value added services – WVAS.


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Keep your eye on Android

Keep your eye on Android

In the last quarter of 2008, China Mobile announced plans to develop OPhone, their own Android-based operating system in partnership with select handset manufacturers such as Levono, HTC and Nokia. “OPhone” is a codename for phones that will be based on China Mobile’s OMS (Open Mobile System) which is essentially re-coded Android + TD-SCDMA (China’s home-grown 3G standard). Google’s Android software can be re-configured to support any carriers’ proprietary wireless value-added services platform – WVAS (e.g. music, messaging, apps, etc.). 

We’ve seen a beta demo of Levono’s OPhone on Sina.com, but the first OPhone models that are designed to support TD-SCDMA have yet to hit the market. In fact, China Mobile is providing millions in R&D funding (RMB 600 million – $87.77 million US) to assist 12 TD-SCDMA phone and chip manufacturers with the development of their “on the drawing board” TD-SCDMA 3G phones. International handset manufacturers have heretofore been reluctant to build TD-SCDMA phones as the new “China built” network standard has yet to gain wide user acceptance, and is limited (for now) to China. 

HTC Magic

HTC Magic

But that is not going to stop China Mobile from hitting the market with EDGE (2G) smartphones that are Android-based. HTC announced today that next month they will unveil a version of HTC’s “Magic” model for China Mobile. The new smartphone is Android-based and will be re-coded to support China Mobile’s WVAS. China Mobile’s (HTC’s) customized Magic won’t be cheap. It is expected to retail for about 5,000 yuan, or about $730 US … albeit the price has yet to be finalized. The new China Mobile Magic won’t be 3G, but rather will use China Mobile’s “EDGE” (2G) network. Meanwhile, China Mobile and HTC will continue with plans to develop another new Android-based OPhone model using TD-SCDMA 3G … although there has been no date set for HTC’s 3G OPhone launch.

For more background, read today’s Wall Street Journal article on the new HTC phone. For a good chuckle, see the Windows Mobile > OPhone spoof

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花花公子 it’s a Dell TD Phone!


dell-dude-tbi-085x0851iPhonAsia comment: According to a report on Sina.com.cn, Dell is planning to build two new TD-SCDMA smartphones for China Mobile. Like several new customized TD smartphones (Levono, HTC, Nokia) being developed for China Mobile, the Dell phone mobile operating system (MOS) will be Android-based and specially coded to exclusively support China Mobile services. In other words, the operating system will be “proprietary” to China Mobile and it will be branded as “oPhone.” Good luck with that Dell … All new China Mobile 3G handsets will suffer under TD-SCDMA usability issues and China Mobile’s myopic focus on driving their own WVAS. Pre-loaded services on TD handsets will likely include China Mobile’s:
picture-3See video interview with China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou discussing China Mobile’s new MOS. Wang Jianzhou also mentions iPhone > HERE
More on China Mobile’s new app engine > HERE

Dell Phone Launching In China? (DELL, CHL)

If true, probably a good move: China Mobile is a massive carrier with almost half a billion subscribers, and Dell’s U.S. rivals like Apple and RIM don’t have much of a foothold in China.

  Read » 


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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 to launch 3G phone on android platform-source

picture-25China 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.


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NOTE: The following ramblings are based largely on rumor and guesswork. 

The latest on iPhone in China

~ Dan Butterfield – November 5, 2008

tdscdmaChina Mobile wants no pre-publicity over “new” to be announced TD-SCDMA handsets from prominent vendors such as Apple, Nokia and HTC. Why? These new phones will be very popular and China Ministries do not want to effectively shut down the sales of the current TD-SCDMA handsets (18 of the 20 currently available TD-SCDMA handsets are made by Chinese manufacturers). Moreover, China Mobile has been given a major bogey for new TD-SCDMA subscribers in 2009 and they want to keep the momentum going … tepid as it may be.

htc-logonokia-logoOfficial announcements of the three (3) new TD-SCDMA handsets from Apple, Nokia and HTC (Android) will likely be made at the same time.  The rumor making the rounds inside China is a January 2009 launch for the “new” TD handsets.

 New TD-SCDMA phones rumored to be launched Q1 2009:

Current crop of TD-SCDMA handsets in China

Despite the cone of silence, HTC/Google recently leaked their intent to make a TD Android-based handset available in early 2009.  Nokia and Apple have kept the lid on any information.  Just buzz thus far.

Speaking of buzz … There have been a few rumors suggesting that Apple and Nokia have substantial handset “pre-sale” deals with China Mobile. These pre-sales (for China Mobile’s inventory) may have been key negotiating points for Apple and Nokia.  There are major expenses and risks associated with the development of TD-SCDMA handsets for China and both Apple and Nokia have been reluctant to dive into TD-SCDMA without a pre-sale or other assurances that they can recoup costs. The TD-SCDMA network remains a major risk for all … OEMs, China Mobile and China’s Ministries overseeing the tech/telecom industries. 

All of the current TD-SCDMA handsets are subsidized by China Mobile to encourage Chinese consumers to switch over to the new high speed “China built” 3G (TD-SCDMA) network. TD-SCDMA uptake thus far has been disappointing. The most credible number indicates only 200,000 users since network launch in August. 

It is no secret that China Mobile is fast-tracking plans to develop their new “China built II” superfast 4G network – Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE).  By the time TD-LTE is ready (2010 at the earliest), China Unicom/Netcom will have their W-CDMA 3G network up and running and if China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA continues to disappoint and TD-LTE is behind schedule (both very possible), China Unicom will make a strong play to steal away many of China Mobile’s EDGE 2.5G and TD-SCDMA users. 

2658143551_38c8f3c98fIt’s a fair bet that Apple’s TD-SCDMA iPhone deal with China Mobile (to build a TD iPhone 3G) is non-exclusive … In my view, this would be good news. Apple is smart enough to recognize that the TD-SCDMA network is an unproven gambit.  Placing all bets on TD-SCDMA would be folly.  Yet Apple cannot simply thumb their nose at China Mobile and TD-SCDMA.  China’s Ministries need TD-SCDMA to succeed. Think of the deal with China Mobile as the entrance fee for doing further business in China.

There is national face to be lost if TD-SCDMA becomes China’s Spruce Goose. Having cool attractive TD-SCDMA handsets is key to stimulating Chinese consumer interest in their home-grown 3G network. The new Apple, Nokia and HTC offerings should help.  HTC had no choice but to build a TD handset.  In my view, Apple and Nokia had to be convinced. Part of that convincing was likely:

1.    A guaranteed pre-sale of handsets for China Mobile’s inventory (these phones may be customized models with a focus on China Mobile value-added services and branding)

2.    A subsidy to stimulate sales

3.    Pressure from China Ministries (want to do more business in China?)

Remember the breakup of AT&T in the 80s?  Like AT&T, China Mobile got too big and too powerful. As part of China’s telecom industry restructuring, China Mobile was required to pay 50 billion yuan (HK$57.06 billion) to help rivals China Telecom and China Unicom. A substantial portion of this payment (mandated by China’s MIIT) will go toward development of China Unicom’s new W-CDMA 3G network.  W-CDMA is a proven world standard 3G network and is supported by the chipset in Apple’s current model iPhone 3G. 

Again, Apple’s TD iPhone deal with China Mobile is most likely non-exclusive. If Apple also partners with China Unicom/Netcom, this could be a major win for the new China Unicom (the second largest wireless player in China).  Continuing with the non-exclusive theme, Apple could partner with the third new 3G player in China – China Telecom. Feeding this rumor, there have been recent buzz about Apple developing a CDMA iPhone which would work on China Telecom’s network.  The chipset for this CDMA2000 phone might also allow Apple to use the same iPhone on Verizon’s network in the US and abroad.  

More here – October 18th post by iPhonAsia Editor …


iPhonAsia comment: There has been some buzz (flat out rumors) over Apple developing two (2) new iPhones … one loud rumor is that we’ll see a TD iPhone 3G (supporting TD-SCDMA) sometime in early 2009.  The other new iPhone? Hmmm? Many possibilities … in no particular order:

1) A W-CDMA iPhone 3G for the “new” China Unicom, albeit no release may be delayed until mid 2009 as W-CDMA 3G license must be issued and network must be built out in China. Note that the current iPhone 3G chipset already supports W-CDMA. 

2) A EVDO CDMA2000 iPhone for China Telecom and to broaden iPhone distribution to new markets and new carriers… ex: Verizon in the U.S.?

3) A second low-priced “customized” model for China Mobile’s massive pre-pay market (chipset supporting TD-SCDMA and EDGE 2.5 G). 

4) A new model iPhone that will support TD-LTE 4G (doubtful, yet China Mobile is very keen to jump start TD-LTE in 2010 and get past their TD-SCDMA troubles)

5) Readers? … how about a few ideas … love to hear what you think 

China Netcom, China Unicom merger completed

Read full post via China Trade Information > HERE


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  wireless-spectrum-network_neutrality_nfn-jpg.jpeg  google_android_prototype.jpg

On the recommended reading list – iPhone, Android, 700 MHz — What maximizes wireless innovation? This article was written by Brough Turner, CTO at NMS Communications. 

In this article Turner discusses, among other things, the future of “Open” wireless networks, mobile Internet and the impact of Apple’s iPhone.



Here’s the real excitement, at least in the next 24 months.  The iPhone is truly a break through device, if nothing else it’s the first mobile Internet browser that really works.  Every other handset vendor has embraced iPhone concepts and is scrambling to bring out their own next generation devices.”

Full article > HERE

brough.jpg Note: Brough Turner will be moderating a panel “Wireless Innovation, with or without operators.” At the Emerging Communications Conference eComm 2008, in Mountain View (Silicon Valley) March 14, 2008.



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