Android largely unharmed in Google-China row

An Android phone delayed in China is now set to ship as device makers there keep using Android

A mobile phone with Google's Android operating system that was delayed in China will now ship next week, in the latest sign that Android has gone largely unscathed by a row between Google and the Chinese government.

A subsidiary of mobile carrier China Unicom has started letting users reserve the Motorola XT701 and estimates the phone will ship around March 13, according to its Web site. The pre-sale appeared to have started Thursday or later.

The price of the Motorola XT701 was listed as 4,299 yuan (US$630) on the China Unicom site. The 3G phone has a 3.7 inch touchscreen.

The Motorola phone was one of two Android phones delayed in China after Google said in January that it planned to stop censoring results on its China-based search engine. Google's announcement raised fears of a possible government backlash and harm to the use of Android in China. is currently still censoring search results, but lifting its filters would defy Chinese regulations.

Google did postpone availability of Google apps on Android phones from Chinese carriers. That is certainly a blow for the company, said Zhang Jun, an analyst at research company Wedge MKI.

"Mobile is a really promising market," he said. After Google's announcement, Motorola formed a search deal with Google's Chinese rival,

But interest in Android itself, an open-source OS, has stayed high among companies in China. Lenovo, China's top PC maker, and Dopod, which distributes HTC phones in China, both say their plans to use Android on upcoming phones have been unaffected.

The top executive at China Unicom this week called Android a mainstream OS and said the carrier, which is state-owned, will use it on phones. And a government-linked computer maker, Lemote Technology, is optimizing Android to run on a laptop with a Loongson microprocessor, part of a state-backed line of chips.

China's IT ministry has said it will not restrict the use of Android as long as the OS conforms with Chinese regulations.

Still, "right now people probably expect too much in China for Android," Zhang said. Windows Mobile is dominant in the country and some local phone makers simply use their own Linux-based OSes, he said. Chinese phone makers usually target low- or middle-end buyers, and Android so far is suited to high-end chipsets, he said.

That could change. One reason is that MediaTek, a Taiwanese company that supplies low-price chipsets to much of the Chinese market, is working on a package that pairs its hardware with Android.

A Motorola representative said the Android phone now on pre-sale was its only handset affected by Google's move.

The other Android phone delayed after Google's announcement was from Samsung. When asked if its phone had gone on sale or if any others were also affected, Samsung said it was still providing Android smartphones for Chinese customers.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleChinaAndroid

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Owen Fletcher

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?