Posts Tagged ‘UniPlus’

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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china-unicomUpdate – June 10, 2009: Interesting factoid from Ultimi Barbarorum… China Unicom will be building 125,000 base stations in the first 12 months of their W-CDMA 3G network rollout. That’s more 3G base stations than all the operators in Western Europe have rolled out in the 9 years since the 3G wireless standard has been in existence.

Update – June 6, 2009: According to a June 5 report in 163.com, China Unicom is preparing to release “UPhone” handsets based on its “UniPlus” operating system (OS). UPhones will be “customized” handsets with the UniPlus OS (modified Android code) designed to support China Unicom’s wireless value-added services (WVAS). This strategy by China Unicom will mirror and match the path that China Mobile is taking with their OPhones – also “customized” handsets using a modified Android OS to support the carrier’s own wireless services (music, e-mail, chat/messaging, mobile apps, cloud storage, etc.).

Both China Mobile and China Unicom have seen how Apple’s iPhone has driven mobile data usage through its seamless OSX software integration with Apple’s compelling services platform (iTunes, App Store, etc.). With more competition on standard cellular rate plans, carriers are looking to “Appleize” (offer cool customized smartphones with a proprietary mobile OS designed to promote their own WVAS) to increase average revenues per user (ARPU). “Appleization” is much tougher and more expensive than it looks.

China Unicom is smart enough to know that UPhones and UniPlus (MOS) are a gamble, and hence they will soon announce a deal with Apple to offer an official iPhone in China. Yes, UPhones and iPhones can exist side-by-side in China Unicom’s inventory. The Chinese consumer will ultimately pick the winners. 

April 30, 2009

JLM Pacific Epoch is out with a report today on a new mobile handset operating system (MOS) developed by China Unicom. This MOS will be branded as “UniPlus.” According to the report, new UniPlus-enabled handsets with several “simple functions” could be released as early as May 2009. UniPlus will help China Unicom to encourage consumer use of China Unicom developed wireless value-added services (WVAS).

iphone-china-unicom-112Apple has demonstrated how subscribers will respond by consuming massive amounts of mobile data and services when a peerless smartphone (iPhone) and software are seamlessly integrated into a powerful platform (iTunes, App Store, MobileMe, SDK, 3.0 OS and soon to be integrated with Snow Leopard OS). China Unicom will likely follow a similar roadmap to Apple in building out their MOS and services platform. Yet China Unicom recognizes that they will not arrive at their destination overnight. Consequently they will not be competing against Apple and the iPhone anytime soon. In fact, China Unicom will be an important partner with Apple in China. Stay tuned for iPhone in China announcements in May/June.

china_mobile_logoChina Mobile, on the other hand, will be taking a far more aggressive approach in ramping up their own mobile platform. China Mobile is building their own mobile operating system and plans to release a customized smartphone (oPhone) in May in partnership with Levono. There were also rumors last week that China Mobile was in talks with Dell build a customized TD-SCDMA 3G smartphone. Dell!? gfxlovers.com/smilies

Levono oPhone customized for China Mobile

Levono oPhone customized for China Mobile

The China Mobile mobile operating system (MOS), will be Android-based and coded to support China Mobile’sproprietarywireless value-added services:

See 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



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