China’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, already has a range of ‘oPhone’ smartphones, running a customized version of Android called OMS. Members of this range include the Lenovo oPhone and the Motorola MT710.
Now China Unicom, the country’s second largest carrier, wants in on the action too. And it has developed its very own version of Android, called Uniplus, to be the OS to run its upcoming range of uPhone smartphones (very creative naming indeed).
Reports indicate that at least three Chinese phone manufacturers are currently hard at work developing uPhone hardware. Releases are expected in Q3 or Q4.
The first pictures showing the Uniplus UI have surfaced and it seems to look a bit like Samsung’s TouchWiz, while they both ‘borrow’ some design ideas from iOS.
China Unicom has plans for an appstore, which will be called Unistore. It will open to developers soon and will be ‘compatible with the Android Market’.
Whether or not Android developers will flock to this platform, instead of just focusing their efforts on the ‘vanilla’ Android Market is a very good question. If China Mobile’s appstore woes are anything to go by, developers may be more disappointed than satisfied if they do choose to make this step, and consumers will probably still hunt grey market Android imports instead of going for these customized solutions in any big numbers.
Still, an interesting effort by China Unicom, that if successful will only underscore Android’s fragmentation issues even more.
Via Cloned in China
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