Lenovo Group, the world's No.4 PC brand, said on Friday its mobile phone based on Google's Android platform will not be affected by an ongoing spat between the search giant and the Chinese government.
Lenovo plans to launch the LePhone in China this May in cooperation with China Unicom, China's second-largest mobile carrier, said CEO Yang Yuanqing at a shareholders' meeting in Hong Kong. The computer maker is using the Android operating system in the LePhones, following its recent repurchase of its former cellphone unit. Google's surprise announcement last week that it could abandon the China market after it was targetted by China-based hackers has raised questions about how a withdrawal would affect hardware makers who use Google software in their products. Yang said Lenovo would still be able to use Google's Android software, which is open source. He declined to say whether the LePhone would include Google's popular search feature, but said the handset would come pre-installed with the icons of major Chinese websites operated by Sina.com, Sohu.com and Tencent. Lenovo also expects its handset business to grow faster than its traditional PC business, said Yang, without specifying a timeframe. “I hope that Lenovo's mobile division can earn similar status as our PC business in the future,” said Yang.
Lenovo sold off its handset business in 2008 to focus on its core PC business. But as handsets and PCs have started to converge with the advent of devices such as netbooks and smartphones, Lenovo announced last November that it would reacquire the business for $200 million.