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Lenovo Lining Up Android-based Smartphone For World's Biggest Phone Network

Computer manufacturer Lenovo will partner with China Mobile (a founding member of the OHA), through its subsidiary Lenovo Mobile - to release a smartphone with Google Android OS between February and March of 2009.

The device, known only by the name of Ophone (ed: not this spoof Ophone from Microsoft), is likely to be compatible with the TD SCDMA standard which is China's home-grown 3G network and will run China Mobile's Open Mobile System (based on Android).

And the first prototype looks promising with a USB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and 3.5-inch touchscreen and many other iPhone-esque minimalist features.

This would however mean that you won't be able to use them on any other network outside China which is fine for Google given the fact that China is a massive 600 million mobile users market that Apple and smartphone manufacturers have yet to exploit fully.

Interfax China also reveals that the Ophone will integrate "nearly all of China Mobile's mobile services", which happens to be the world's biggest mobile phone operator.

China Mobile turned its back on Windows Mobile, Nokia's Symbian and Apple's iPhone platform because of unsuccessful negotiations over royalties and shared profits.

Speaking to the Chinese News Agency, Capgemeni analyst, Huang Weisong argued that "With its own operating system, China Mobile will be able to commission customized terminals from handset makers and keep its hand strong in negotiations over profit sharing. There is even the possibility that China Mobile may move into manufacturing handsets itself."

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.