updated 01:05 am EST, Wed November 5, 2008
Meizu M8 Due Nov 30
Meizu's shadow to the iPhone, the M8, should be available in at least a limited form before the end of the month, according to a post by company head J. Wong. While already tentatively slated for November, the touchscreen phone should be launched in Meizu's native China no later than November 30th. The company is waiting for a government license for the phone but will release a test version to users even if the license isn't granted by the end of the month, Wong explains.
The news is accompanied by plans for the launch that will stagger the release: both the Chinese and Indian versions will be available first, with the Chinese version's Wi-Fi disabled to meet local laws. Exports to Europe, Hong Kong and the US may also be ready by Christmas Eve with Wi-Fi intact.
Meizu's device is based on a heavily modified Windows Mobile interface with numerous references to Apple's cellphone, including a Safari-like web browser front end, an iPod-like media player, and a similar overall look. However, the Chinese device also carries extras like a three-megapixel camera and FM radio at the expense of 3G data, using EDGE instead when away from Wi-Fi.
The M8 is tentatively priced at the equivalent of about $348 for an 8GB version without subsidies and $421 for a 16GB model.
It's not known whether Apple will respond to the release of the device if carried out as planned. The American company hasn't acted against perceived copyright violations in China, but has often filed lawsuits and otherwise attempted to block sales of companies with imitative designs in countries with stricter copyright laws. The company's efforts against Luxpro, whose Tangent devices strongly resemble the iPod shuffle, have prompted a countersuit for alleged attempts by Apple to stifle competition.