Update – January 19, 2010: A Google spokesman has confirmed the postponement of the launch of two Android phones in China. The manufacturers are Motorola and Samsung and China Unicom would have been the carrier. The future of the Android HTC Nexus One (so called Google phone) in China remains in doubt.
January 18, 2010: The fallout from Google’s China gambit continues. As many know well, Google has taken a controversial stand and is reevaluating the future of Google.cn “search” in China. Google’s actions may have also placed its mobile search deals (Google as default search engine) on phones in China in jeopardy.
A new post from BusinessCaing.com claims that Google has taken steps to restrict the use of the Google brand name and Google maps/applications on Android handsets in China. Here is the article in > Mandarin and using > Google translation tools
While there is no discussion of mobile search in the article, it is possible that the standoff between Google and China over “censored search” might result in China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) insistence that Google no longer be available as a search engine on mobile phones used in China. Google’s logical response to such a move might be the revocation of any Google branding and the removal of Google maps/apps used on such handsets. Moreover, it’s also possible, if not probable, that Google would remove the HTC/Google Android phone from future distribution plans in China.
This does not necessarily mean China’s Android mobile operating system plans (the baby) will be thrown out with the termination of Google.cn search and Google maps/apps (the bath-water). Earlier his week Marbridge consulting reported that China’s carriers were apparently moving forward with plans to develop customized Android-based mobile operating systems. China mobile has already invested massively in their Android MOS, dubbed “open mobile system” (OMS) and OPhones (TDSCDMA 3G phones running OMS). Read more background > Google and China working to salvage carriers’ Android plans
It seems improbable that China carriers will abandon Android altogether notwithstanding the conflict over Google.cn “search.” However, lack of Google branding + removal of Google maps/apps won’t help Google in China. Non-Android smartphones, and iPhone in particular, might be the beneficiaries of Google’s China battles.
iPhone is not wedded to Google and the next China iPhone software update might simply substitute Baidu.com as the default search engine, replacing Google.cn.
This story is far from over. Stay tuned