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Dell phone in China; iPhone retailers intimidated?

updated 08:30 am EST, Mon November 23, 2009

Dell Mini 3i ships with unfair edge

Dell's Mini 3i is shipping to China with a possible unfair competitive advantage against the iPhone. The Android phone should be available by the end of the month through China Mobile's retail partners and later through Dell's own site. As expected, it will drop 3G and Wi-Fi due to the government-backed carrier's preferences but will still have a 640x360 capacitive touchscreen, GPS, Bluetooth and microSDHC storage.

The handset will be based on China Mobile's OPhone interface for Android and will have China-specific features, including preset 139Mail access and Fetion instant messaging. An American release is believed due through both AT&T and Verizon early into 2010 with both 3G and Wi-Fi intact as well as a different build of Android.

Dell's launch comes amidst potential intimidation of some iPhone resellers. A report from Sina alleges that China Mobile is threatening some China Unicom resellers with retaliation if they carry the iPhone. Citing an alleged exclusivity deal that bans China Mobile resellers from selling competitors' products, letters from the provider either make vague references that selling the iPhone is "not recommended" or outright warns that China Mobile will "fine you or stop cooperation with you."

While it's not clear whether the exclusivity deal is authentic or legal, the arrangement is likely to hurt iPhone sales while helping all devices based on the OPhone platform, including not just the Mini 3i but also devices from Lenovo and other local handset makers. It effectively blocks the iPhone from major stores like Suning while limiting it both to Apple stores and to those stores that don't have a restrictive deal, like Best Buy or Carrefour.

China Mobile isn't known to have responded to the accusations.







By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Aug 2002

    +3

    Perhaps it will backfire...

    ...and the iPhone will be sought as an exclusive device? Scarcity can sometimes drive demand...

  1. lkrupp

    Junior Member

    Joined: May 2001

    +4

    Bag of hurt?

    I guess the potential market is so gigantic in China that manufacturers will do just about anything to get even a tiny piece of it. But it's looking like the government stacks the deck against players that don't tow the line. The iPhone comes out without WiFi enabled because it was illegal at the time. Now, it's legal but the Dell phone doesn't have it enabled either because the "government-backed carrier" doesn't prefer it.

    We all snickered and labeled Google a hypocrite for caving in to the Chinese government's censorship demands. Now this? I guess these American corporations really are cheap whores who will do anything to make a buck. They manufacture their gadgets in Chinese sweat shops and then cripple the things at the demand of the government so they can be sold back to the people who made them.

    Damn them all to h***!

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008

    0

    It's their country...

    and they can do anything they damn well please. I'm just glad I don't live there.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -4

    Re: Bag of hurt


    I guess the potential market is so gigantic in China that manufacturers will do just about anything to get even a tiny piece of it.


    Damn straight!

    Now, it's legal but the Dell phone doesn't have it enabled either because the "government-backed carrier" doesn't prefer it.

    Gov't has nothing to do with this. 'carrier' is the more operative word. Just like how you get a phone from Verizon without Bluetooth or other features. Carriers want to sell their wares.

    We all snickered and labeled Google a hypocrite for caving in to the Chinese government's censorship demands. Now this?

    The only hypocrisy I remember on this was that from the US Gov't going all holier than thou on Google and Yahoo because they dared do business in China and responded to a gov't request. The same folks who renamed french fries in their cafeteria because France didn't kiss the US's a** and say "We'll join a war we don't believe in and feel is contrived!". Oh, and get this. France was right!

    I guess these American corporations really are cheap whores who will do anything to make a buck.

    I'm sorry, but it took Dell's decision to not add Wifi to their cell phone for you to finally make this decision? American companies have been all about the money since day one. You actually think any of them are in business first and foremost to make people's lives better, and profit is secondary or less?

    And while everyone likes to mock Dell and their computers, maybe their problems lie in the fact they still haven't moved their operations completely over to China like the others (including Apple) have.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003

    +1

    Speaking of unfair....

    Why all the censored harmless words?

    - A

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