China Unicom to release new smartphone line this month

The Wophone is set to rival other popular smartphones in China

China Unicom's new smartphone line, which is set to rival Apple's iPhone and Android handsets in China, will go on sale in the country later this month, according to a company spokesman.

China Unicom's Wophone is a new smartphone and software platform the company formally announced in March. The carrier, which is China's second largest mobile operator with about 180 million users, created the Wophone as the company faces competition in its app store business from Apple and vendors of Android devices.

Wophone devices will use Linux-based software developed by China Unicom and its partners, including some Chinese government agencies. Some of the handset manufacturers building Wophone devices for China Unicom include Motorola, Taiwan's HTC, and Chinese telecommunication equipment suppliers Huawei and ZTE.

The carrier plans to make an announcement about the Wophone during a company sponsored summit next week, said the China Unicom spokesman on Friday. The pricing of the handset, which will be available across China, is not yet disclosed.

China Unicom already has an edge over the country's two other mobile carriers, as it is currently the sole carrier in the country offering Apple's iPhone 4 which has been a huge hit among Chinese consumers, according to analysts.

The company does not however sell apps for the iPhone, which are sold directly by Apple, and it may be trying to increase app store revenues with apps for the Wophone.

Rivals China Mobile and China Telecom are both in talks with Apple to offer the iPhone.

China Mobile, which has 611 million customers, also has its own smartphone and software platform known as OPhone, which uses an operating system based on Google's Android. But late last year, an executive with the China Mobile Research Institute acknowledged the OPhone platform still had "a ways to go" to improve the functionality of the devices.

Mobile carriers in China are hoping to drive smartphone sales up in order to bring more customers to their third-generation (3G) cellular networks. China Unicom has 22 million 3G users, while China Mobile has 31.9 million.

In the first quarter of this year, 19.9 million smartphones were sold in China, according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International. During the period, smartphone sales made up for nearly 30 percent of total mobile handsets sales in the country.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesiPhonetelecommunicationconsumer electronicsChina UnicomCarriers

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

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?