updated 08:40 am EDT, Fri October 12, 2007
ASUS and BenQ iPhone Clone
Taiwanese companies are planning to hop on the touchscreen phone bandwagon to capitalize on the iPhone's perceived success, claim anonymous industry contacts. ASUS and BenQ, which have typically focused on limited 'feature' phones or else smartphones with traditional number pads, are both said to be developing primarily touch-driven phones for professional users. Windows Mobile 6 would be standard, and the feature set would skew towards higher-end features like 3G Internet access and GPS navigation, the sources alleged. It was too early for definite specifications, though the report would have the ASUS and BenQ devices on shelves within the first half of 2008, roughly a year after the iPhone's announcement and launch.
Other southeast Asian and even Scandinavian companies were likely to join in the response, the people aware of developments said. Korean firms LG and Samsung were both earmarked as developing new touchscreen devices following this year's KU990, the Prada phone, and Voyager, as well as Samsung's Ultra Smart F520 and F700. Samsung could choose to develop a Windows Mobile touchscreen phone instead of its choice of a custom interface or Symbian. LG's interface was not mentioned but would likely be a variant of the Flash-based controls used for its touch phones to date. Finnish handset maker Nokia has also demonstrated a concept phone with an iPhone-like interface that should serve as the basis for a production phone sometime next year.
Current designs are largely believed to have been in development for too long to have been directly influenced by the iPhone.
The move by the two Taiwanese firms follows in the wake of their fellow company HTC, however, which enjoyed tremendous success with its Touch phone, which selectively used touchscreen controls over top of Windows Mobile in exchange for a smaller profile, which dropped a conventional dialing pad. HTC has since introduced the Touch DUAL as a response to users requesting physical number keys.