Chunghwa may be first to sell Chinese Google phone

By , IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Chunghwa Telecom
may become the first mobile phone network operator to offer users a Chinese-language
Google phone, courtesy of its close relationship with smartphone maker High
Tech Computer (HTC).

The two Taiwanese companies have teamed up to launch several HTC handsets in
the past, and Chunghwa is already looking into working with HTC about the Google
phone, said Chen Chang-rong, vice-president of the mobile business group at
Chunghwa Telecom, on the sidelines of a news conference.

"It won't be out for a while, maybe the end of this year or early next
year," he said. "There are a lot of issues to work out in the handsets."

There had been some speculation that Chunghwa may be the first company worldwide
to offer a handset based on Google's
software to users in Taiwan because of its relationship with HTC,
but Chen dispelled that myth.

"We'll launch a Chinese-language version, and it takes a little more time
to localize the software and put it out. English language versions will be out
first," he said.

HTC may still be among the first mobile phone makers to launch a Google handset.
So far, the company is among the first to admit it's working on a phone designed
around Android, and it may have gained a march on rivals by jumping into development
early. The company is known for its high-end handsets, and especially for making
the Windows
Mobile OS
more widely available before most manufacturers would use the
OS. HTC is still the largest maker of handsets based in Windows Mobile.

Google launched Android last year as part of the Open
Handset Alliance Project
. The company launched Android with partners in
the alliance, including LG Electronics, Motorola and Samsung Electronics. Android
is an open source software platform that includes an OS and is designed to take
advantage of Internet services for mobility.

HTC has said it expects to launch its Android-based handset in the second half
of this year.

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