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Chinese Android – OPhone 2.0 makes debut

Android users can charge direct to their O2 bill

The OPhone 2.0 platform, the latest Chinese version of Android, developed by China Mobile, made its debut in Beijing this week on the Samsung Oscar I7680.

According to Borqs, a software development firm contracted to develop the OPhone OS, version 2.0 features a comprehensive range of functionality upgrades, including more than 1,000 improvements in user interface and experience, 300 upgrades, and over ten new functionalities including: customization, preview, and third-party download of themes; multi-touch functionality; cut, copy and paste; a game engine coupled with an accelerated 3D-capable GPU.

With its own SDK, Borqs claims that the OPhone platform has more than 50,000 registered developers since it was launched eight months ago. These developers have submitted over 1,300 applications, of which more than 500 are compatible with OPhone OS 2.0.

The world’s largest carrier announced the OPhone platform in September 2009, with the first handsets hitting the market at the end of last year. China Mobile has reportedly signed up more than 20 vendors to develop handsets based on the customised Android platform and 20 models are expected to launch during 2010. Lenovo, HTC and LG as well as Samsung all have OPhone devices that are either available or imminently so.

The appeal to operators is understandable
. A level of control over handset specification is something that is seen as a benefit as they fight to position themselves to remain relevant in the mobile value chain and Android enables operators to develop a handset ‘experience’ in the same way that vendors do.

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