apanda A60 smartphone running Android to launch in China

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First spotted in spy shots several weeks ago, a mystery smartphone running Android has now been revealed to be the A60 from an ambitious China-based company called apanda. For starters, the device has respectable specifications in a sleek simple candy bar design, with a 3.2-inch HVGA touch screen, Qualcomm 7227 processor at 600MHz, 256MB RAM and ROM memory, 5MP camera, WiFi, 1270mAh li-on battery good for around 150 hours standby, and quad-band GSM and tri-band HSDPA/WCDMA network support making it suitable for use internationally.

The device is currently in beta and the specifications are not complete, but I would expect things such as Bluetooth 2.0 and GPS to be included in the final product. Though the A60 runs Android 1.6 at the moment, apanda intends to upgrade to the latest version when it becomes available, although whether this will be before launch or provided as a free upgrade later is uncertain.

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Though not exactly MID-like, the A60 is significant because apanda is one of the first companies from China to create its own brand around its own product in the mobile space, intended to compete not only in the Chinese market, but with global aspirations to compete with established companies such as Nokia, Samsung, and Motorola. In a way, apanda is following a more Western-style business model and trying to emulate what HTC has achieved in recent years, rather than creating clones or products exclusively for the Chinese market. Part of the company's plan includes opening 50 stores in China, several in nearby Taiwan, and eventually 400 in western countries in Europe and the US.

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Early impressions indicate the device has a high quality feel, being quite similar to the HTC Magic/Sapphire/myTouch but slightly larger at 4.57 x 2.24 x 0.49 inches, with a weight of around 4.23 ounces. Performance is said to be very fast and smooth at this stage, with a customized Android installation for Chinese consumers.

The apanda A60 should be available in either white (as shown) or black with a colored side trim, both with a smooth matte finish resistant to fingerprints, rom China Unicom for under $400 in the very near future. Is this the start of a new wave of Chinese companies creating self-branded products for the world?

[163.com via Shanzai]
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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.

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