Motorola to Sell Droid-style Phone in China This Month

Motorola will start selling a smartphone similar to the Droid in China this month, but the phone will use China's homegrown 3G standard and a China Mobile operating system.

The MT710, Motorola's first smartphone made for the China Mobile Ophone brand, will go on sale in China on Dec. 28, a company representative said. Pricing was not available but the device, like all Ophones, will use a version of the Google Android operating system modified by China Mobile. The Droid offered by Verizon Wireless in the U.S. uses the normal Android operating system.

The MT710 will also support the 3G mobile standard designed in China and being promoted by China Mobile, TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access). Another Chinese technology it will support is a security protocol designed in the country for wireless LANs. In the past China has barred Wi-Fi on mobile phones but this year it began approving phones with the function if they supported the Chinese protocol.

Unlike the Droid, the MT710 has no slide-out keyboard. But both handsets have a 3.7-inch touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera and can be viewed sideways to browse the Internet or watch videos. Their faces also look similar with a few touch buttons below each of their screens. The full name of the Motorola phone, the MT710 Zhiling, uses Chinese characters that mean "intelligent" and "leader."

China Mobile is the world's largest carrier by accounts with over 510 million subscribers. But its 3G services have struggled so far and the carrier has worked to get attractive handsets from foreign vendors to attract more users.

Nokia has announced its first handset using the China Mobile 3G standard and Dell's first mobile phone, the Mini 3i, recently went on sale in China as a 2G Ophone. Dell plans to release a 3G phone for China Mobile at an unspecified time, Yang Chao [cq], Dell's consumer business general manager for Greater China, told reporters last month. Other Ophones are on sale or on the way from Lenovo Mobile, LG Electronics and Dopod, the China distributor for Taiwan-based High Tech Computer (HTC).

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