Source: Google cancels Android developer event in China

Google nixed the Beijing stop on a tour due to its row with China's government, a source says

Google's row with the Chinese government has led it to cancel an event for Android developers in China next week, according to a person familiar with the situation, in the latest show of the dustup's effect on Google operations in China.

A Google spokeswoman denied Beijing had been a planned stop in the set of developer events, which an official Android blog says will include legs in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore starting this Sunday. But the person familiar with the situation, a developer close to Google, said the Beijing leg had been dropped.

"It was canceled because of the Google issue in China," the person said.

Google last month said it planned to stop censoring results on its China-based search engine, reversing its years-long compliance with the country's rules. Google cited concerns over hacking and censorship.

Android took a blow after the announcement as two mobile phones using the OS, one from Samsung and the other from Motorola, had their launches delayed in China last month.

Google has postponed the availability of Google mobile applications on Android devices from operators in China, a Google spokeswoman said in an e-mail. But the move appears to affect only Google apps, not Android itself. "Android is an open source mobile platform, so anyone can bring Android-powered devices to market," the spokeswoman said.

Android had been well-received in China, with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, designing its own mobile OS based on Android.

Google plans to show its Nexus One smartphone at the Asia events next week to help developers work with it, according to the person familiar with the situation. The events can draw hundreds of participants, the person said.

Google still appears to be hiring in China even though it said last month that its move against censorship could lead it to exit the country altogether. Its China Web site still lists dozens of job openings in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, including positions in sales and development.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt last month said the company still hoped to operate in China and that it was in talks with Chinese authorities. But Google.cn, the company's China search engine, is still censoring results for searches on sensitive topics such as the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader who is revered by his people but accused by Beijing of being a scheming separatist.

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Owen Fletcher

IDG News Service
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