At least three Chinese companies have put Google's Android operating system on mobile phones they say will launch in Europe this year.
Beyond Radio Technology, an unknown Chinese handset designer, is the latest to announce such plans. The company's Android phone will go on sale in Europe this year, and later in China and Taiwan, a company engineer surnamed Liu said by phone Friday.
The company has four partners that will brand and sell the Android phone, Liu said, declining to give their names. The partner launching the phone in Europe is a global brand, he said.
Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and Haier have also revealed plans to sell Android handsets in Europe. Huawei has said T-Mobile will launch its Android phone there during the third quarter. It first announced the 3G handset, which resembles the iPhone, early this year.
Haier, best known in China for its air conditioners and refrigerators, will release an Android handset in France around September, a marketing employee at the company said in an e-mail. A mock-up of the 3.2-inch screen phone was on display at a Singapore trade show last month.
The phone from Beyond Radio Technology has a 2.8-inch touchscreen and supports Wi-Fi, but not 3G or EDGE. A future version will support 3G, Liu said.
The phone's designer, based in the southern Chinese manufacturing base of Shenzhen, posted pictures of the phone on its Web site this week.
"We think Android is the future direction for mobile phones," Liu said, citing Android's open-source code and low cost as its strengths.