Google's Android platform is definitely going mainstream as China-based Haier unveiled a budget Android mobile phone which could bring touchscreen smartphone goodness to million of users worldwide.
The handset, dubbed the H7, was shown at CommunicAsia and is the fourth Google Android handset to be released after the G1, G2 and Samsung I7500. More significantly, Haier, which is the fourth biggest white goods manufacturer in the world, is not even part of the Open Handset Alliance.
Haier did present three Android-based devices back in February at the MWC in Barcelona but the H7 was not one of them (which could mean that additional Android-based devices are in the pipeline from the Chinese maker).
The phone has a passing resemblance with the HTC G2 and even has a pearl trackball, à la Blackberry. It comes with a 2.8-inch LCD touchscreen (resistive most probably), a 2-megapixel camera with flash, GPRS and GPS functionality as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, FM radio and mini USB port.
We suspect that onboard memory will be non-existent or very small but you will be able to slot-in a microSD card. The H7 is expected to be launched in France in September for only $150 (£90) which would put it in the same price bracket as the LG Cookie.
The H7 will run on Android 1.5 Cupcake although by the end of the year, it should be bundled with Android 2.0 Donut. We will also expect a H8 to come early next year with 3G capabilities. The picture is courtesy of Leonard Goh of Cnet.
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Haier is as big as Asus when it comes to revenues but because it is a low-profile player, you'd probably never heard of it. Sadly, Haier doesn't have any UK website and their European websites show only white goods appliances. But it looks like the Chinese company could well bring one of the most disruptive products of 2009.
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