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Android phone R&D underscores features-rich units

Suppliers are releasing more Android phone models to boost competitiveness amid a rapidly expanding line.

Quick to catch up on the latest trends, China mobile phone makers are rolling out Android-based types to take advantage of climbing demand for the smartphone. Most releases support Android 2.2 OS, and some suppliers are gearing up to launch 2.3 versions in the months ahead.

Android phone

The T168 model from Top Crown supports GSM, GPRS, EDGE and UMTS at 850, 900, 1,800 and 1,900MHz and W-CDMA 900/2,100MHz.

Oteda Industrial Co. Ltd is one of these manufacturers. It hopes to introduce Android 2.3 handsets in 4Q11.

The majority of mobile phones from the country turn to MediaTek and Qualcomm solutions, specifically the MT6516, and MSM7225 and MSM7227. The last, an upgraded version of the MSM7225, promises faster processing speed and longer battery life yet lower power consumption. It also boasts higher frequency and floating-point unit.

The MG902 model from Shenzhen Diadem Technology Co. Ltd adopts the MSM7227. It supports GSM 850, 900, 1,800 and 1,900MHz and UMTS 900, 1,900 and 2,100MHz. Other features include a 4.3in WVGA TFT screen, GPS and dual cameras.

Oteda will launch variants based on MediaTek’s MT6573 before end-2011. The company uses the MT6516 in its current selection.

For the display, China enterprises incorporate capacitive or resistive touchscreen, although the first is more widely preferred for its better performance. The former allows multipoint touch and improved flexibility compared with resistive kinds.

The screen size options include 2.8, 3 and 3.5in for mainstream models, and 4 to 4.3in for high-end versions. The resolution can be 800x480, 320x480 or 320x240 pixels.

Makers are also emphasizing energy efficiency and enhancing aesthetic qualities. Because Android phones are packed with various applications, battery life is often a major concern for users. To address this, China suppliers integrate 1,200 or 1,500mAh Li-ion batteries. Upscale configurations such as the A1000 model from Sunshine Telecom (HK) Ltd deliver 2,100 to 2,200mAh.

As for better aesthetics, enterprises offer slim designs.

To avoid patent issues, manufacturers use in-house molds. LightInTheBox Ltd’s 20-member R&D team creates original designs for its mobile phones. The supplier’s LITB-P800W model, released in July this year, employs a homegrown mold.

To take advantage of rising orders for Android phones, more China companies are boosting output. At LightInTheBox, the line represents 60 to 70 percent of the maker’s overall smartphone deliveries.

Major supplier TCT specialized previously in smartphones running on Windows Mobile OS but has shifted production focus to Android versions. The last currently represents 20 percent of the manufacturer’s overall yield, which also includes GSM varieties.

The upswing in China reflects the global industry for Android phones, which is expanding as users migrate from traditional handsets to smartphones that support multiple applications. IDC estimates that Android releases will account for about 40 percent of the smartphone segment by year-end, surpassing Nokia Symbian’s share of 21 percent. The growth comes three years after the emergence of Android handsets in the market, which was dominated by Microsoft Windows and Symbian units.

Global smartphone shipments are projected to surge by 55 percent to hit 472 million units by end-2011.

Midrange Android phones lead

Android phones from China come in all price points and target different sectors. Midrange models dominate supply. Mostly running on MediaTek MT6516 or Qualcomm MSM7225 solutions, these releases have dual-SIM and -standby functions. They pack 3.2, 3.5 or 4in capacitive screens and may include analog TV, dual cameras, GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Quotes range from $100 to $105.

Entry-level units typically support only one SIM card and are priced between $90 and $100. These come with 2.8 to 3in resistive touchscreens and 240x320-pixel resolution.

Upscale versions adopt Qualcomm MSM7227 and feature 4 to 4.3in capacitive displays. Similar to other variants, they allow dual-SIM and -standby but integrate rear cameras with up to 5MP resolution, higher than the usual 1.3 or 2MP. These go for $150 to $200.

Makers source ICs abroad. But the screens are usually from local partners Tianma and Truly.

Prices dropped by 5 to 10 percent in recent months amid strong demand. To remain competitive, most enterprises will keep quotes at current levels. Others will roll out new models boasting the latest technologies and added features to justify higher rates.

Companies will continue to send most exports to North America and the EU, but are planning to explore emerging markets India and South America.

Product gallery

Android phone

Product gallery

LightInTheBox Ltd

Model: P800W
Description: Quadband; dual-SIM, -standby; GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz, W-CDMA 900/2,100MHz; 3.5in capacitive touchscreen; 4GB NAND flash, 2GB RAM; 300,000-pixel front, 2MP back cameras, FM radio, alarm clock, GPS

Android phone

Oteda Industrial Co. Ltd

Model: A100
Description: Dual-SIM, -standby; MediaTek MT6516 chipset, 460MHz; GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz; 3.5in HVGA TFT resistive touchscreen, 320x480 pixels; 4+2GB internal memory, up to 32GB TransFlash card; 2MP camera, GPS, WAP, motion sensor

Android phone

Shenzhen Diadem Technology Co. Ltd

Model: MG988
Description: Single SIM; Qualcomm chipset Arm V6, 500MHz; GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz, UMTS 900/2,100MHz; 2.8in HVGA resistive touchscreen; 256MB ROM + 512MB RAM; 2MP front, 3.2MP rear cameras

Android phone

Sunshine Telecom (HK) Ltd

Model: A1000
Description: Dual-SIM; MediaTek MT6516 chipset, 416MHz; 4.08in QVGA capacitive touchscreen; 4+2GB DDR NAND flash, up to 32GB memory card; analog TV, 3MP CMOS camera, LED flashlight with 1.3MP webcam; MP3, MPEG-4, RM, RMVB, WAV; Android 2.2 OS; 4 to 6hr talk, 150 to 240hr standby time; 2,200mAh Li-on battery; 124x13x63mm; 125g

Android phone

Tmpking Technology Ltd

Model: E100
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 21 days
Description: Dual-SIM; 4.3in capacitive touchscreen; analog TV, FM radio, GPS; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth; Android 2.2 OS

Android phone

Top Crown Technology Ltd

Model: T003
MOQ: 500 units
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Dual-SIM, -standby; dual-core Arm Cortex-A5 processor; GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz, UMTS 900MHz; 2.8in LCD touchscreen, 320x280 pixels; GPS; Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth; Android 2.2 OS

Note: This article "Android phone R&D underscores features-rich units" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business- to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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