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China's Phantom iPhone Clone
Thursday, August 16th, 2007 at 8:15 AM - by
China isn't known for its respect for intellectual property rights, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that one company is hard at work at bringing a blatant iPhone knock-off to market. Meizu has been working on its miniOne iPhone clone for some time, and may be able to get it in Chinese consumer hands before the end of the year, according to Popular Science.
What sets the miniOne apart from the iPhone is that instead of matching the combination iPod and smart phone feature for feature, Meizu may be attempting to one-up Apple's design. Supposedly, the miniOne will work with any cell carrier, will run more applications, and will cost less.
How well the miniOne manages to pull that off remains to be seen since Meizu's little handheld hasn't been spotted in the wild yet. So far, only images that bear a striking resemblance to the iPhone have surfaced, and most of the information about the device has come from Web forums.
Apple hasn't made any public statements about the miniOne, making it unclear how the company plans to deal with Meizu's design. CEO Steve Jobs revealed that his company has worked to protect the iPhone with a long list of patents, presumably to defend from knock off products like the miniOne. Defending those patents in China, however, may be easier said than done since the country does little to enforce copyrights, patents, or intellectual property rights.
Apple has used the court systems outside of the United States to defend its products in the past, but so far hasn't attempted to do so in China. Even if the Cupertino-based company does pursue legal action against Meizu, it's likely that nothing will happen until after the product rolls off the assembly line because, for now, the miniOne is only vaporware.
[Thanks to TMO reader gulmatan for the heads up.]
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