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Lenovo Mobile 'Google phone' pictures emerge

New competitor to T-Mobile G1 Android phone

Pictures of a Lenovo Mobile smartphone bearing the logo of China's largest mobile operator have spread online, rumoured to be proof of an upcoming Android handset that's based on China's homegrown 3G mobile standard.

The pictures, posted by ModMyGphone.com, show a handset with a large screen and a single hardware button that's reminiscent of Apple's 3G iPhone. Specifications provided with the pictures - which do not show what operating system the phone uses - claim the handset has a 5-megapixel camera and room for an add-in SD (Secure Digital) memory card.

An earlier post on the same site said the Lenovo Mobile handset is called the OPhone, runs the Android operating system, and supports China's TD-SCDMA 3G standard.

While both companies use the same logo, Lenovo Mobile should not be confused with Lenovo Group, the PC maker and former parent of Lenovo Mobile. Lenovo spun off its ailing mobile unit as a separate company earlier this year. The $100m buyout of Lenovo Mobile was led by Hony Capital, the private equity arm of Lenovo's Beijing-based parent company, Legend Holdings.

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Lenovo Mobile, which is not a member of the Open Handset Alliance that backs Android, could not be reached for comment on the pictures. But the company was one of the first Chinese vendors to produce TD-SCDMA handsets and produces smartphones that run Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, suggesting a TD-SCDMA smartphone based on Android is within the company's capabilities.

In addition, China Mobile Communications, the country's largest mobile operator, is widely expected to get a licence to offer 3G services based on TD-SCDMA. The operator, which is an OHA member, could also not be reached for comment on the handset pictures.

China is expected to issue licenses for 3G services either this month or during January. If the Lenovo Mobile handset depicted in the pictures is genuine, it's likely to appear on the market at about the same time or shortly thereafter.


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