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Google launches Android for cell phones
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After much anticipation and rumors, Google Inc launched its wireless product yesterday - an Android platform for mobile devices but not a phone as most people expected.


Google also partnered big names in telecommunications, including China Mobile and Motorola, to promote the new mobile system, which will be the world's fifth mainstream handset platform.


Together, the companies are forming a group called the Open Handset Alliance, which will use Google's Android platform. Other alliance members include T-Mobile, HTC and Qualcomm.


Google said the new platform is "one of the most progressive, developer-friendly, open source licenses," to build new services for mobile devices and is low cost for users, Google said in a Chinese-language statement.


The first mobile phone with Android will be available in the second half of next year, Google said.


"China Mobile believes an open platform will improve application and consumers' Internet experience. That will help popularize smart phones," Huang Xiaoqing, president of the mobile carrier's research center, said in the statement.


China Mobile is the world's biggest mobile carrier by number of subscribers and aims to improve profitability via provision of more non-voice services to smart phone users.


In the third quarter, sales of smart phones, which refer to high-end phones with an advanced platform such as Linux or Windows Mobile, totalled 6.07 million in China, a quarter of the total market size, according to CCID Consulting, a research firm under the Ministry of Information Industry.


(Shanghai Daily November 7, 2007)


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