With rumors that China Unicom might be soon ink a formal deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to China as early as September, China Mobile, the rival, will also speed its new OPhone to the huge Chinese market.
Many styles of Ophones will come officially to market within this year, an insider of the Research Institution of China Mobile told local media CBN on Sunday. He also indicated that more than 40 handset companies have customized by now.
Motorola, Samsung, Dell, Phlips, LG and ZTE are researching and developing Ophones besides Lenovo Mobile which launched 2G OPhone in June and Dopod's OPhone in July.
Lenovo's OPhone TD will come to the market in September, which will be the first OPhone TD that China Mobile has ever made, one senior manager of Lenovo Mobile said last week.
However, since it's the first time China Mobile worked on this large operating system, it's both difficilt and time-consuming to complete the task, according to an researcher of a handset firm.
The Research Institution of China Mobile has devoted almost half of its manpower to developing OPhone, but the ever-changing software will more or less affect the launch of OPhone.
Sources said hat China Mobile will release its new overall strategy for OPhone in the first third of August together with its Mobile Market stores.
Rumors came that China Unicom will bring in iPhone as early as September, or the fourth quarter of the year, to be exact.
Meanwhile, China Mobile makes every effort to snipe at iPhone. The quick move of early launch of Ophone can be seen as an effort to be more competitive than China Unicom.
The OPhone handset, though similar in outlook, is a kind of Internet handset developed based of China Mobile's OMS mobile phone operating system; while the OMS mobile phone operating system is based on Google's Android system.
Previous reports stated that China Mobile's own open mobile system will focus on the mobile Internet functions while integrating many of China Mobile's unique services to enable the future handsets to fit China Mobile's network and business to the largest extent, so as to occupy a top position in the future 3G market.
The built-in functions in OPhone, such as GPS and CMMB, will meet the need of the Chinese market more effectively and practically, said Chen Wenhui, vice president of marketing in Lenovo Mobile. With the support of the local operators in China, OPhone has an overwhelming advantage compared to iPhone, he added.
The possible agreement between China Mobile and Apple will be based on the revenue and bonus sharing. However, Unicom is unlikely to build in their own business due to limited time. Even if it enters the massive Chiense market, Apple can only gain profits from the App stores.
Operators ' development of new operating systems should be a long-term strategy to reinforce control over the industry chains and avoid becoming a conduit in the 3G era, said the CEO of Thinkbank consulting Gong Bin. He also noted that the development won't be done overnight.
Gong said that the coming of iPhone won't causing disruption to the current shape of operators due to the prevalence of smuggled and Shanzhai iPhones, while Ophone will have more advantages of local industrial chain as many models are coming at the same time.
TheOPhoneOS, OPhoneSDH and OPhoneSDK to be released by China Mobile together with Mobile Market have shown good capacity in industry chain by uniting chip providers, phone makers and content developers, according to a researcher of Research Institute of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. This, according to the researcher, will boost the development of the telecommunications in China.