This week the Dell phone made it a step closer to being official. China Mobile introduced its new mobile handset platform to the world and this will likely include the Dell designed smartphone. But as of Monday Dell remained tight lipped about it.
Of course, details of the so-called Mini 3i have been circulating for a while and have picked up steam again following the Chinese Mobile announcement. What we officially know is that the wireless operator is working with an Android-based Open Mobile System (OMS), which could include the Mini 3i.
So will Dell make it officially official this week? We’ll see.
Chinese Mobile Market Launches
The other big news from Asia this week is that China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator based on subscribers, also has launched its own app store. The site will provide a range of mobile entertainment apps, including music, videos and games. The open platform provides a site where vendors and application developers can come together. Currently it supports 10 mobile handset models, including those from Nokia, Samsung and LG, with other brands coming soon.
The timing of both the announcement of the new Open Mobile System and the launch of the mobile story is not surprising. The company will release its half-year results on Wednesday. The government-owned company has about 460 million subscribers, and reportedly around 73 percent of the market share in China.
The company is currently investing in a new wireless network based on TD-SCDMA, which is actually being built by the government, and thus is renting the network back from what is essentially its parent. This is strange to consider that the Chinese government in Beijing is in the mobile phone business, but at this point isn’t Washington, D.C. making cars?
But the really interesting part with China is that despite government control over the media and many industries, it could actually face competition in the mobile space from China Unicom and China Telecom. It is really interesting to consider how the regulators are looking at China Mobile’s business practices. If any end up in reeducation centers, at least we’ll know why!
Knockoff Phones Big in China
One downside to the growing mobile market in China should have almost been expected. In a land where virtually any and every product have been copied, counterfeited or bootlegged, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that mobile phone’s are being copied. But there is a plus side; this is actually sparking some interesting innovation.
This week Computer World reported that the unregulated industry has churned out low-priced, but essentially counterfeited copies of popular handsets. Some look just like the real deal, and while some work just fine, others pale when it comes to performance.
What is interesting is that the better copies sometimes do a little bit more, and in some cases the companies making the copies could become legitimate vendors in the mobile space – then we’ll have to see how they feel when the table is turned and there innovations are pirated!