11 posts • joined Monday 12th March 2007 03:00 GMT
Re: Hey up, what's the state of play with these cheap tablets?
@Basset if it was an early Ainol model, the incompatible apps would have been because they used MIPS CPUs instead of ARM (anything that uses the native-code NDK instead of regular Dalvik has to be compiled separately for each architecture). Ainol already switched to ARM for their latest tablets, probably for this reason.
On the subject of 8" android tablets, the one in the article is nothing new - my colleague bought a Teclast p85 for a similar price to the one in the article a few months ago, 1024x768 screen and everything. The Yuandao n80 is another 8" 1024x768 tablet thats been around for a while - haven't played with that one but apart from the screen it's the same as their n70 which I have and works very nicely (also under $100 for the 8GB version). No fake iOS skin though.
Re: How many app markets?!
"Free apps that cost on markets elsewhere? Porn?"
No, popular free apps like Sina Weather (Sina is probably the biggest internet company in China with all sorts of different services) and 3rd-party Weibo (like Twitter) clients. The victims might be dumb for not wondering why a weather forecast app needs access to their SMS inbox, but this isn't a case of greedy people getting their just desserts.
Re: Wifi in China?
No, the iPhone 3G and original versions of the 3GS didn't have WiFi, but everything since the iPhone 4 and 8GB 3GS has had it. It basically boiled down to support for the Chinese WAPI standard, which is an alternative to the usual WPA encryption/authentication system - the Chinese government wanted to have it included in 802.11, but IEEE/ISO didn't agree so they threw a hissy fit and refused to certify any non-WAPI WiFi equipment.
For a while most phones here didn't have WiFi, but now all the major manufacturers have added WAPI as an alternative authentication option (which nobody uses - I've honestly never seen a WAPI-secured access point) so they can get approved again.
The opening sentence of the article isn't accurate - in China, most free phone on contract deals (including this one) aren't in the form of "we give you a free phone if you agree to pay X RMB per month for Y months" as you would expect in the UK/US, but actually "you pay us for the phone up-front then we deduct the price from your monthly fee over a period of Y months". (China has much less developed credit reporting systems than Western countries, so it's safer for them this way - even if you decide to skip out on the contract before your term is up, they haven't lost money).
PS this isn't a new move from Unicom - they offered a very similar deal (possibly identical?) for the iPhone 4, and before it the 3GS. I was going to get one, but they said I couldn't transfer my old phone number to the new plan.
Money, not censorship
To everyone who is saying that the protectionism is just a cover story: China can already evesdrop on Skype traffic, and services they can't listen in on were illegal even before this announcement.
As the article says, the Skype service in China is operated by TOM Online, a Chinese company that already cooperates with the govenment on censorship, interception etc. Here's a quotation from Skype themselves about it (written in a blog post after TOM screwed up and put a load of intercepted IM conversations on a public web server, but it also admits that they're listening in on Skype calls):
"It is common knowledge that censorship does exist in China and that the Chinese government has been monitoring communications in and out of the country for many years. This, in fact, is true for all forms of communication such as emails, fixed and mobile phone calls, and instant messaging between people within China and between China and other countries. TOM, like every other communications service provider operating in China, has an obligation to be compliant if they are to be able to operate in China at all."
All the other popular VoIP services in China are also operated by local companies who are under the same rules, and services that the government doesn't have access to are already illegal - no need to ban them again. This is totally about protectionism.
Catalog address for Stanza etc
it seems the address to add to Stanza is http://bookserver.archive.org/catalog/index.xml (if this information was in the article, I was too dumb to notice it)
How about WAPI?
The other possible "Chinese related standard" (especially because they're saying "3G and...") is WAPI, the Chinese competitor to 802.11i that got rejected by ISO. Don't laugh, it's still around, and it's the reason why WiFi is stripped out of the Chinese versions of most handsets. The government won't issue a Network Access Certificate (the handset model license that allows it to be sold legally) for a WiFi-capable phone unless it supports WAPI. Perhaps Apple has adopted WAPI as the price of allowing WiFi in the iPhone? I don't think it's all that much less likely than them using TD-SCDMA.
Just baseless speculation, is all.
All the sites listed work fine for me this morning from a China Netcom connection in Beijing. Perhaps it's only happening in Shanghai, but a bad case of malware seems more likely to me.
Not the first time
This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Earlier this year there was a lot of trouble because Google used colonial-era Japanese names for some places in Shenyang, in North East China. Chinese internet users weren't particularly happy about it.
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