updated 01:00 pm EST, Sat December 18, 2010
Meizu M9 on sale in China
Meizu on Saturday began shipping the M9 to China a few days ahead of its original Christmas deadline. The purported iPhone clone is already in the hands of first buyers and has already received some early tests comparing it to other Android devices. It runs an 800MHz processor, not 1GHz, and as a result scores above the Nexus One with Android 2.1 but trails the Google phone with 2.2 as well as the Samsung Galaxy S and Motorola Droid X.
The CNbeta hands-on also confirmed that, while the M9 hardware is different, its custom Android 2.2 still borrows some visual elements from the iPhone that spurred it to design the M8. The phone dialer, music player, browser and messaging interfaces all are based loosely on Apple's iOS template. Meizu keeps the Android keyboard mostly stock but uses small touches like showing the currently pressed key.
Meizu has been relatively popular in China and has exported its phones to some countries, but the company has lately been challenged by Apple for allegedly copying its designs too closely. the company earned at least a temporary reprieve last month when it challenged the validity of Apple's patents and is believed to have won, clearing at least the original M8 and making it difficult for Apple to block sales of the M9.
Apart from OS elements, the closest similarity between the M9 and iPhone is the display, which at 3.5 inches and 640x960 is near-identical to Apple's and unique in the Android world outside of some Sharp phones.