Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn will make a handset for China Mobile next year that supports software developed by the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) joint venture, according to the head of China Mobile.JIL is a joint venture established by China Mobile, Vodafone, Verizon Wireless and Softbank Mobile to develop software and services for their 1.1 billion mobile phone customers. The launch of the handset will put Foxconn in a group of mobile phone makers that has already pledged to build mobile phones for the four JIL members.LG Electronics, Research In Motion, Samsung Electronics and Sharp all agreed last month to support JIL in their mobile phones starting from the first quarter of next year.
The Foxconn handset will be launched next year, said Wang Jianzhou, chairman and CEO of China Mobile at a news conference at the company's Shenzhen, China, customer service center on Thursday. More JIL-related announcements will come out soon after the handset launch, he added.
He declined to provide further details of the handset. Foxconn is the trade name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer. A company representative declined to comment.
Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of Japan's Softbank, said Thursday that JIL is working on a single platform to share mobile apps. The aim is to make sure mobile apps work on a range of smartphones, not just one.
"It's too early to provide much detail, but we are very excited," he said during a keynote speech at the GSM Association's Mobile Asia Congress in Hong Kong. He said JIL is inviting more operators to join the initiative.
Several speakers pointed to mobile apps and cloud services as ways for mobile network operators to make more money, instead of just being the pipe through which others sell such items, like Apple with its iPhone apps, .
"As a carrier, you don't want to be just a dumb pipe," Son said.
The ability to use mobile apps on a variety of handsets also gives users more choice because they don't have to feel tied to one mobile phone because of an app they particularly like, said Michael O'Hara, chief marketing officer of the GSM Association, in a speech.
"In the world of applications we're missing what made mobile so successful; a common format," he said. He said people should be able to move their apps from one device to another, irregardless of whether the operating system is different.