By Owen Fletcher and Dan Nystedt and IDG News Service
China’s first mobile phone based on Google’s Android software will go on sale next month in a deal between China Mobile and Taiwan’s High Tech Computer (HTC).
The handset, HTC’s Magic smartphone, will use a Chinese-language version of the Android operating system developed by HTC, a company representative said.
The software will also be tweaked to meet the needs of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier, the representative said.
The touchscreen phone will come equipped with China Mobile applications including the firm’s instant messaging client, a mail service and a download platform for songs and pictures, according to the Web site of Dopod, HTC’s brand in China.
Huawei Technologies, a Chinese telecommunications equipment provider, previously announced an Android-based phone for China, but its handset is slated for sale in the third quarter.
Phones based on the Open Mobile System OS, a version of Android modified by China Mobile, are also expected in China this year. HTC, Lenovo, Samsung and LG are all developing the handsets, called “OPhones,” according to telecom research firm BDA.
But Lenovo’s handset, originally earmarked for sale as China’s first OPhone this month, may not go to market until the third quarter, said Lei Shi, an analyst at BDA.
China Mobile developed its OS partly to promote the use of its own applications and value-added services, said Shi.
The firm hopes customized phones will attract more users willing to pay for such features, he said. China Mobile aims to launch an application download platform similar to the iPhone App Store this year.