updated 08:50 am EST, Thu December 24, 2009
China iPhone carrier still prefers others
China Unicom in its next wave of phone orders will still prefer older smartphone platforms over Apple's, company general manager Zhang Zhijiang said this week. Of the carrier's mix, only 4 percent will be iPhones while 8 percent will use some variant of Windows Mobile. About 16 percent will use some variant of Symbian.
Zhijiang didn't provide specific unit numbers attached to the phone ratios or break down its orders by hardware manufacturers beyond Apple. Most of its Symbian devices are likely to come from Nokia.
The numbers reflect both a muted level of confidence in the iPhone as well as a preference for smartphone platforms that have normally been chosen in southeast Asia. Although China Unicom's sales of the iPhone have picked up and passed 100,000 units two weeks ago, the device has sold relatively slowly as its relatively high pricing and a lack of built-in Wi-Fi on currently shipping models has steered customers either to bootleg iPhones or to cheaper devices. Symbian and Windows Mobile phones have often been mainstays of China as many of the phones use resistive touchscreens and styluses that favor Chinese handwriting and are more likely to be sold unlocked and usable for prepaid service.