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Huawei Says Aye, Android in 2009

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is planning to release its first Android handset next year after joining the Open Handset Alliance last week. (See Open Handset Alliance Names New Members.)

The Chinese networking giant says it will have its first phone based on the open-source operating system on the market in 2009. The firm is targeting the smartphone market and says that it already has partnerships with many of the carriers that are members of the Open Handset Alliance, including China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) and T-Mobile US Inc. .

Huawei has been in the handset business since 2003. It has built up its brand with a focus on the lower and medium tier phones for emerging markets. (See China's 3G Move to Trigger Spending.) The company’s executive vice president, Guo Ping, told domestic media in November that the company is expecting revenue from its mobile phone business to increase 74 percent year-on-year to $4 billion.

The company had hoped to raise about $2 billion by selling a stake in its mobile terminals business, but canceled those plans as the financial crisis deepened this fall. (See Huawei Preps $2B Handset Handshake and Huawei Halts Handset Unit Sale.)

Nearly all the world’s major handset vendors have now joined the Android alliance, including Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications . A notable name currently absent from the roster is Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), the world’s No. 1 mobile phone purveyor. Nokia has its own ambitious open-source project underway with the Symbian Foundation , following its buyout of the operating system provider this year. (See Nokia CEO: Symbian Is Catalyst for US Market.)

Motorola, meanwhile, has staked much of its future on the Google platform, saying that it will drop Symbian and focus on Android and Windows Mobile in 2009. (See Moto Ditches Symbian for Android & Windows.) The vendor plans to have its first Android handset out in time for the holiday season next year.

2009 is, in fact, shaping up as a key year for Google’s young pretender to the smartphone operating system throne. As well as Motorola, Huawei, and others, High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) -- the developer of the G1 Google phone -- is planning more products based on the operating system. Meanwhile, the first WiMax device using the operating system could also hit next year. (See G1 Is Just the Start for Android and Android on WiMax in 2009?)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:25:05 PM
re: Huawei Says Aye, Android in 2009 Even though it is open, Symbian is starting to feel closed and dated. Users have complained about long nested menus to reach anything useful. Is that navigational weakness baked in? Is Symbian too "old" (narrowband, monolithic, ect.) to work right with a touch screen UI and ng apps? Although many apps run on Symbian, are they also dated? While the N97 has a touch screen, it is faulted with a lack of fluidity. Is that a problem?
joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:25:04 PM
re: Huawei Says Aye, Android in 2009 I guess that's the point of the open source project to a degree. To get some fresh blood an fresh input on the OS. That's a monolithic undertaking in itself though, taking the code open is supposedly one of the largest open source projects ever undertaken.

Will it be enough? I don't know frankly, Symbian has the advantage of a massive intsalled base certainly doesn't have the cache of Apple, RIM or Google right now. I suspect a lot will depend on how open Nokia really will be with the OS.

DJ
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