China Mobile plans to launch its Mobile Market app store on August 17, a source close to the situation said.
However, the release of the first TD-SCDMA OPhone developed by Lenovo is slated for September and unlikely to coincide with the Mobile Market launch. OPhone is a collective name for China Mobile’s customized smartphones using the Android-based OMS (Open Mobile System) operation system.
“The Mobile Market will go live at on August 17. The service is likely to be only available to customers in Guangdong province initially as a trial," a source from China Mobile's Shanghai subsidiary told TelecomAsia.net.
Several thousand apps will be available on the Mobile Market when it opens and China Mobile will take 30% of the revenues from apps sold, another source said previously.
However, the first TD-SCDMA OPhone based on China Mobile's open mobile system (OMS), developed by Lenovo, is unlikely to make its debut at the same time due to some delays, the Shanghai Mobile source said.
“The Mobile Market software, developed by a small foreign company, will first be pre-installed on Symbian and Window Mobile smartphones,” he said.
Analysts believe that China Mobile is in a rush to launch the OPhone and the Mobile Market while smaller rival China Unicom is nearing an exclusive agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in China for three years. The fashionable iPhone would become a powerful tool for China Unicom to attract young mobile users from the market leader.
According to a report by Communications World Weekly, China Mobile is in talks with more than 40 mobile phone manufacturers over the making of customized OPhones and new models developed by Dopod, Lenovo, Dell, Philips and LG will be released soon.
Lenovo launched the world's first OPhone, running on EDGE and equipped with GPS and CMMB (China Multimedia Mobile Broadcasting) functions, in June. Dopod launched its EDGE OPhone a month later. Other OPhone developers include Samsung, Motorola, ZTE and Yulong, the report said.
Lenovo's OPhone the O1 is like iPhone in its shape, but adopts OMS developed by China Mobile based on Google's Android platform. It is also embedded with China Mobile's services such as Fetion, mobile news and mobile mailbox.