China Mobile launches 'OPhone' to counter China Unicom's iPhone

At an event today in Beijing, China Mobile officially launched its "OPhone" platform, the mobile carrier's answer to China Unicom's recently acquired Apple iPhone.

OPhones run OMS (Open Mobile System), a China Mobile-branded fork of Google's Android, and they will be made by a number of prominent manufacturers, including Dell, HTC, Lenovo. China Mobile showed off devices by all three manufacturers today, and said it expects companies such as Samsung, ZTE, Phillips, Motorola, and LG to support the platform.

Chipmaker Marvell affirmed its support of OMS with the platform's launch today. Marvell's Vice President and General Manager of Consumer and Computing Business said, "China is not only leading the next phase of growth for the global economy, it is driving new advancements in 3G and 4G mobile technology. Working with China Mobile to deliver smartphones with advanced capabilities enables Marvell to expand its reach deeper into the world's largest phone market."

With the launch of OPhone, Android now has the single largest wireless market in the world at its disposal. At the beginning of 2009, China Mobile had 463.9 million wireless subscribers. By comparison, The United States' largest wireless carrier, AT&T, closed out 2008 with 74.9 million subscribers.

The percentage of 3G users on China Mobile, however is very small because the carrier only received its TD-SCDMA licence this year. But growth has been rapid. The company passed the 1 million 3G subscriber mark in June, roughly six months after opening the network.

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