HTC is poised to begin selling an Android-based smartphone in China, the first time a device based on the Google mobile operating system has been commercially released in the world's largest wireless market. HTC CEO Peter Chou tells the Wall Street Journal the device, scheduled to hit retail next month, is a new version of its Magic model, optimized for operator partner China Mobile's EDGE network--HTC will distribute the Android smartphone under its Dopod brand, and will sell the handset at China Mobile stores and via various Chinese electronics retailers for about 5,000 yuan, or roughly $730 U.S. Chou adds that China Mobile designed much of the phone's user interface, and will embed links to a number of its services.
While a China Mobile spokesperson declined comment, the Wall Street Journal reports the operator will market the HTC device as the OPhone, a reference to Open Mobile System, its customized version of the Android platform. Any similarities to Apple's iPhone brand are no doubt purely coincidental. Speaking of the iPhone, it is still not for sale in China (at least not through official channels), but conventional wisdom suggests Apple will eventually strike a distribution deal with China Mobile rival China Unicom.
China Mobile is the world's largest wireless operator, boasting close to 500 million subscribers. Analysts report Chinese consumers typically spend between $10 and $15 per month on mobile data services.
For more on the OPhone:
- read this Wall Street Journal article
Google releases Android 1.5 Early-Look SDK
T-Mobile USA to add two new Android handset partners in 2009