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Chinese telecom giant tips Android phone

Feb 17, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

China-based telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies is showing its first Android-powered smartphone this week at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Due to ship in the third quarter, the phone is one of two or three Huawei Android models due that may ship this year, says an industry report.

Huawei is showing a non-operational mock-up of the phone in Barcelona, according to this Gearlog report, which shows a darkened photo of the unit, along with a more interesting live shot of VirtualLogix mockup showing a single-chip Android solution running on its VLX virtualization software. Publicly, Huawei yesterday committed to shipping only one Android phone this year. However, a Reuters story quoted James Chen, Director of Huawei Terminal Marketing, as saying two or three different Android models could ship this year, with more on the way next year.

Huawei's Chen is also quoted as saying that his company as considering releasing models compliant with the LiMo (Linux Mobile) Platform specification, as well as handsets based on Symbian. Chen was said to have predicted sales of 40-45 million phones this year, compared with 33 million last year, and offered the possibility of a phone running Long Term Evolution (LTE) “4G” cellular technology as early as the end of the year.

According to the brief Huawei announcement, which revealed no details about its phone, the company is partnering with an unnamed design consultancy to develop an Android-based interface that can “evolve with operators' differentiation requirements.”

Huawei joined the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) that oversees the Google-sponsored Linux/Java Android stack in early December along with 13 other new members. The company is also a fairly early member of the LiMo Foundation, having joined in January 2008.

The other Chinese Android
phone: Qigi's i6 Goal

(Click for details)

In October 2007, Huawei, which is primarily known for its telecommunications and networking equipment, including a new LTE platform it announced this week, was listed by consulting firm CCID Consulting as being the top software developer in China, as well as being an embedded systems giant. The company is also a longtime member of the Scope Alliance and other networking industry groups.

More Android phones, and PMPs, and…

Huawei may not be the first Chinese vendor to reach market with an Android phone. In late November, Qigi Future Technology and TechFaith Wireless announced an Android model called the i6 Goal (pictured above right). So far, there has been no news about deployments, however. Meanwhile an Australian Android phone from Kogan, called the Kogan Agora has been postponed indefinitely, and a rumored Android phone from Garmin and Asus has been postponed in favor of two initial “Nuvifone” smartphone models — one running Windows Mobile and the other running an undisclosed (and apparently unaligned) version of Linux.

It appears, then, that the next batch of Android phones could arrive in June, when another version of the original HTC G1, called the HTC G2 is rumored to ship. There is also an Android smartphone from Samsung that is due at the same time. Recent rumors that the Samsung phone would be delayed because it wasn't being shown in Barcelona have apparently been corrected by a Samsung official, according to industry reports, which suggest the company is on schedule. HTC and Sony Ericsson, which is also working on an Android phone, also decided not to demonstrate their new products at the Mobile World Congress.

Nevertheless, future prospects seem bright for Android, judged by the numerous processor platforms, software stacks, and applications that have recently been lined up behind the technology. And Android appears to be spreading beyond smartphones, with Archos pre-announcing an OMAP3x-based MID-like portable media player (PMP) based on Android, that supports telephony.

Stated Chen in the official Huawei release, “Huawei is delighted to showcase its much anticipated first Android-powered smart phone. As a terminal solutions provider with all-round capabilities, Huawei has an acute insight into the drivers of the communications industry and in-depth understanding of operators.”


Huawei's Android smartphone will ship in the third quarter, says the company. The Reuters story on the Huawei phone may be found here.

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