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Chinese Telecom Company Launches 'RedBerry' 287

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the friends-in-your-corner dept.
Ubergrendle writes "The Globe&Mail is reporting that Chinese telecom company China Unicom Ltd. is launching a new wireless device unapologetically named 'Redberry'. This comes in the wake of an almost 2 year regulatory delay blocking the introduction of RIM's Blackberries to mainland China. Certainly this delay was convenient to China Unicom, if not deliberately staged to allow for domestic competition."
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Chinese Telecom Company Launches 'RedBerry'

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  • I guess the rise in wealth in China and India due to outsourcing is now going to bite us in the ass if this product is alot cheaper than the blackberry because its %100 made in China.
    • by horologium (956654)
      China was making products that were competitive with First-World versions long before the recent increases in the relative wealth of the inhabitants of Shanghai. (Almost none of which is attributed to outsourcing, the booming economy of China is a little more involved than that.) If a tiny proportion more of the people in India and China are now able to afford luxury items that increases the demand for such items for all manufacturers, including First-World ones. Manufacturers in China would be crazy to ne
      • No copycat hardware (Score:5, Informative)

        by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:35PM (#15109515)
        RTFA. Redberry uses an existing cellphone as the device and does not require special Blackberry-style hardware. All this does is mail forwarding to an existing cell phone. All this is involved is a small incremental service cost. No need for the huge Blackberry costs.

        The branding copycatting charge is a bit thin. Most people should be easily able to tell the difference between the two. It's certainly less confusing than Lindows.

    • The remarks in the teaser that points to the article have a certain zenophobic tone to them. It has been a long standing tradition of nations to protect certain markets from competition. For examples, America, Inc. has been protecting the auto industry (tarrifs on trucks), farmers and ranchers, and other politically connected businesses from foreign competition. Why should we care if China protects some little segment?


      And the worry about being dominated by China or India is unfounded. China has some ext
    • I think it will bite us, the western world, in the ass. It is part of a larger scheme on the part of China not only to be relevant, but to be a dominant economic and technological force. They already know we rely on them for cheap manufacturing. They already know they fund the U.S.'s massive deficit. Where do you think we get money to make up the difference in our federal budget? A large portion comes from bonds sold to foreign nations, of which China is a big player. They are holding our leash. They can ya

      • to be a dominant economic and technological force. They already know we rely on them for cheap manufacturing.

        Countries can't effectively be both. As the education and productivity of a workforce rises, so do labor costs. It won't be long until China is outsourcing labor-intensive manufacturing to the cheap labor pool of southeast Asia. After that, when Vietman/Laos/Cambodia/Malaysia/etc is no longer cost-effective, maybe Central Africa will get its chance at the 20th century.
        • As the education and productivity of a workforce rises, so do labor costs.

          Yes, because educated, competent valuable people eventually tire of working for peanuts. That has already happened to Japan, and to the U.S. decades earlier. I believe you are correct, but I see a problem in China's vast population. They have an pool of cheap labor that is nearly inexhaustible, and assuming that natural resources hold out long enough to bring the bulk of that population up to the standard of living enjoyed by the U
      • The absolute worse part of this, is that the only way for the west to compete is to have access to cheap energy so that we can head towards automation. The problem is that for 20 years starting in 1980, we really did nothing. Worse, over the course of the last 5 years, we have made ourselves more dependant on oil and less on alternatives. Even the tax breaks and energy research over the last couple of years are pretty much geared towards Oil. That means, that we have to compete at one of the highest cost of
  • Leave it to China (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 42Penguins (861511) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:48PM (#15109199)
    I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry at the name "RedBerry." Does the "awakening dragon" suddenly have a sense of humor??
    It sounds like something a college kid would make up as a prank and try to sell.
    There's gotta be some marketing exec in Beijing reading the paper and going "ROFL" over this...
  • by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:51PM (#15109222) Homepage
    What I don't understand is the pervasiveness of the Blackberry product for email. Email is an extremely simple application for a client to do, requiring just a simple TCP/IP stack and the ability to do either POP3 or IMAP. I believe that most cellphones now have some email capability built into them. Also, there exist plenty of WAP web-based email platforms out there.

    That leaves just the mini-keyboard interface as the big deal in the space. Personally, I'm not all that impressed by that as an input mechanism. But, if people like it, why isn't it copied all over the place? Is the concept of a little QWERTY keyboard seriously patented? Also, what about all those other ideas like having two letters assigned to each keyboard button and then having the phone sort it out based on what it thinks you're probably trying to type? Or something like a chording keyboard (though that would require learning)?

    So anyway, what's the big deal with Blackberry in particular. Why is this stuff so hard/interesting/compelling?

    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <`ten.yxox' `ta' `nidak.todhsals'> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:58PM (#15109284) Homepage Journal
      I used to wonder the same thing. The closest I've ever heard to an explanation is that Blackberry's "product" is less the little handsets but the infrastructure that the cellular carriers use to provide email service. Apparently BB is very easy to deploy, and they have patents on some rather vague concepts regarding (don't quote me on this exactly) where the email is cached. I think the crux of it is that when a cell carrier deploys a BB system, they don't have to dick around with actually running the mailservers or anything else; it's a very holistic/'total package' type solution from their perspective.

      Now why somebody else doesn't just make a similar network and market it to the cell carriers, I'm not sure. That's where I'm betting the patents come in. But I think BB has sold itself to the cell carriers as being easier to implement and maintain than a roll-your-own solution, and their handsets and all-you-can-eat pricing (versus SMS) have gotten them a good userbase and the associated name recognition.

      If anyone can elaborate on exactly how the BB system works, I would be interested.
    • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:00PM (#15109299)
      "Also, what about all those other ideas like having two letters assigned to each keyboard button and then having the phone sort it out based on what it thinks you're probably trying to type? Or something like a chording keyboard (though that would require learning)?"

      The only types of people I know with crackberries are attorneys, hedge fund managers and accountants that would have zero patience for learning a new way to type. They don't want to fiddle with T9 when most of the stuff they type is very specialized and wouldn't show up automatically. A mini-QWERTY kbd is quick and good enough for their needs.
      • The only types of people I know with crackberries are attorneys, hedge fund managers and accountants that would have zero patience for learning a new way to type.
        All of the management types where I work have corporate sponsored BBs so that everyone can keep in touch with them no matter where they are.
        IT is also perfectly willing to set up your personal BB so that the company can reach you anywhere as well. Of course, the company won't pay for grunt level BBs, but they will at least pay for the time for a
      • oh ffs people, the world doesn't end where the english language ends. t9 could never ever be used for my homecountry language, because every word has 14 versions of it, all of the literally correct but used in different places, every verb has 6 versions of itself, again , all correct if used in correct places. now you can try to figure out how many overlappings this creates for the t9.

        there's no way in hell that a t9 could understand which one i exactly need and occasionally the match under the sam
    • by nvrrobx (71970) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:04PM (#15109328) Homepage
      From a users perspective, here's the reasons I was almost inseperable from my old RIM 950 (I'm pretty sure 950 was the model - this was prior to them becoming cell phones also):

      * Push email. I ran an agent on my Outlook at work and email appeared on my Blackberry, subject to the filtering rules I put in place. This is better than IMAP and POP3, I literally only saw emails I care about on the device. I'd much rather design my filters in an Outlook-like interface than on a small device.

      * The scroll wheel. It seems lame, but it's dead simple to navigate around the device with just your thumb.

      * Small, efficient keyboard. Writing email was simple. A lot easier than T9.
      • Push email. I ran an agent on my Outlook at work and email appeared on my Blackberry, subject to the filtering rules I put in place. This is better than IMAP and POP3, I literally only saw emails I care about on the device. I'd much rather design my filters in an Outlook-like interface than on a small device.

        Most decent mail servers allow you to install filtering rules server-side, which is far superior to client-side filters, since the client never has to download the email in the first place. Exchange de
          • The scroll wheel. It seems lame, but it's dead simple to navigate around the device with just your thumb.
          • Small, efficient keyboard. Writing email was simple. A lot easier than T9.

          And as the GP rightly pointed out, both of these features are easily duplicated, unless patents get in the way. Which brings us right back to his original point. :)

          Not really. The scroll wheel and UI implementation was notably stellar. Throwing a thumb wheel on your blackberry knockoff and making it do similar things to your

        • which requires a TCP connection to be maintained

          This is hardly an issue these days with GPRS and CDMA 1x EvDO very prevalent. I can maintain a TCP connection on my cellphone for days, including when travelling underground and having 3 minute no reception outages between stations.

      • Push email. I ran an agent on my Outlook at work and email appeared on my Blackberry, subject to the filtering rules I put in place. This is better than IMAP and POP3, I literally only saw emails I care about on the device. I'd much rather design my filters in an Outlook-like interface than on a small device.

        User, meet Procmail.

        Seriously - if you think you need blackberry technology to to server-side filtering then you haven't done much research.

      • This is better than IMAP and POP3

        IMAP4 with IDLE support can be used to implement push-email, and you can set up filters on the server-side. Many providers, including fastmail.fm, provide a web-based interface to do it.

        If only there were a decent email client with IMAP IDLE support.
    • by oGMo (379) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:45PM (#15109580)
      So anyway, what's the big deal with Blackberry in particular. Why is this stuff so hard/interesting/compelling?

      Don't look for a "killer feature", because there's not a specific killer feature. In fact, each of the Blackberry's features alone is pretty mediocre. This may be hard to understand, but it happens sometimes.

      The trick is that, taken as a whole, it has just the right amount of everything to make it a "killer device". Email works well enough. Web works well enough. Calendar is decent. Everything integrates with Exchange. The phone interface is really nice, and the address book is good and can do directory lookups. Companies can run their own internal servers and keep the devices behind the company firewall (big difference between general cell phones). The screen is big enough to read and the full keyboard (or half keyboard with uncannily good predictive text for the more phone-like models) is a must. Connectivity is constant wherever you have cell coverage. For a regular work day, this addresses just about everything.

      Finally, you can charge it, and it'll remain connected and on the data network at all times for days before you have to recharge it. And it charges over USB. It will even work offline (i.e. no cell/data network). I can't remember the last time I actually turned mine off, though I have turned off wireless to save battery or switched off work email.

      There are other neat features, as well, like the holster functionality. (Unlike any cell phone I've seen, when it's in the holster it will be silent/vibrate, and when it's out it will ring. Nice for never worrying if your phone will embarrass you in a meeting.)

      These features taken as a whole, without being loaded down by stuff like cameras and other useless trinkets, make it a very useful device. No, nothing is particularly outstanding. But it's the right combination of ingredients.

  • by vykor (700819) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:54PM (#15109247)
    Hm. Is there a reason why the United States is just letting the Chinese practice their blatantly economic-nationalist trade policy, all the while sitting under the pretenses of free trade? How that particular "regulatory tangle" not constituting a barrier to free trade? Where are the retaliatory sanctions?
    • Interesting - I thought the Blackberry was made by a Canadian corporation.
    • After God-knows-how-many years of "most favoured nation" trade status, a freakishly large amount of production takes place in China; they also have a lot of our foreign debt.

      Now imagine either of two scenarios:

      1) China ceases production for the US market. (They could easily turn to produce for their own domestic market, and at not too dissimilar revenue levels.)
      2) China calls in our tab.

      Sleep tight.

    • by geobeck (924637) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:29PM (#15109473) Homepage
      Where are the retaliatory sanctions?

      The US has fired off a bunch of trade sanctions. Unfortunately, they've got terrible aim, so they all hit Canada instead.

    • by grumpyman (849537) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:56PM (#15109645)
      Talking about "sitting under the pretenses of free trade", Canada and US has actually signed something called free-trade agreement, yet Canada keep iron-fisted by the US government in so many fronts - softwood lumber, wheat, beef... For one moment if you think China is the only country practising 'blatantly economic-nationalist trade policy', think again.
      • Hear, hear! Oh, and the US has been covering up its own [organicconsumers.org] mad cow cases [organicconsumers.org] for years, pre-dating the Canadian cases. How's that for a nationalistic import policy?

        I wish the Canadian gov't would grow some berries and just threaten to rip up NAFTA. Beef, lumber, those are just the big two examples. A treaty is just a fancy contract, right? That's what you do when the other side violates the contract repeatedly and unapologetically. And we should charge them a fair market price for our water.
    • That's strange... a country putting it's (and it's citizens) own interests before the ideals of a free market economy. In most western countries we are trying hard to live up to the "ideal" of a completely unregulated free market, where costs & profits dictate all corporate actions, with the predictable result that any possible opportunity to send work to a country with lower labour costs is taken advantage of. In the long run it is draining wealth from the western economies to the developing economies

    • by cliveholloway (132299) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:30PM (#15110135) Homepage Journal
      Oh please. Like the US believes in free trade. EU steel trade tariffs? Farmers?

      The day a country doesn't use it's regulatory network to preserve its own trade is the day it gets pwned by every other damn country out there.

    • Hm. Is there a reason why the United States is just letting the Chinese practice their blatantly economic-nationalist trade policy, all the while sitting under the pretenses of free trade?

      Yes.

      They Chinese government is taking the money it makes from selling consumer goods to the US and investing it in our treasury, in effect financing our current government's deficit spending.
    • Hm. Is there a reason why the United States is just letting the Chinese practice their blatantly economic-nationalist trade policy, all the while sitting under the pretenses of free trade?

      Because they make shit cheap and spend their profits on our treasury notes. Your home mortgage rate is 3% less than it might otherwise be. (Thanks fellas!). Having said that running a $200 billion trade deficit simply cannot be tolerated. The reds are gonna need to seriously revalue their currency or the US will slap

  • Why the fascination (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:54PM (#15109254) Journal
    I know that China is the "new world" and all but for every company to fall all over themselves to deal with them is a bit rediculous. A country that prides itself in constraining all markets, destroying their populace and basically giving the middle finger to rest of the planet is put on a pedestal by the countries that should be invading them to free their people? As all the "free" countries fall all over themselves to sell and buy from a country that is as close to slave labour as we have presently. Maybe we should just forget about them for a while and they may go away, just like Soviet Russia. Before you mod me to hell, think about when you purchase your Walmart crap that is produced by children that don't make enough to feed themselves.
    • by fithmo (854772) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:10PM (#15109361)

      "A country that prides itself in constraining all markets, destroying their populace and basically giving the middle finger to rest of the planet is put on a pedestal by the countries that should be invading them to free their people?"

      HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT ABOUT AMERIC..... oh, you're talking about China? yeah, yeah, I agree!
      /me gives the middle finger to China

  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:55PM (#15109256)
    For the life of me, I cannot fathom why a Chinese company would name their device after an American folk & blues musician that was popular in the early part of the 20th century. Pencils down.
  • The REDberry... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZSpade (812879) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:55PM (#15109261) Homepage
    "On the eve of its long-delayed China launch, BlackBerry is facing a sudden challenge from a cheaper Chinese rival called, unapologetically, RedBerry.

    Oh, that's not nice... China Unicom left no doubt that it is brazenly attempting to capitalize on BlackBerry's global fame.

    So they admit it!

    You know, maybe they're counting on Blackberry being too worn out with the courts to persue anything, and IANAL, but isn't this a pretty blatant rip-off? I wonder how long till we see Blackberry sues Redberry - Blueberry feels left out in the cold.
  • by Skadet (528657) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @04:59PM (#15109286) Homepage
    In other news, RIM has secured a contract for the Irish city of Dingle [wikipedia.org]. The headline?

    DingleBerry is the new RIM job.
  • by TACNailed (753439)
    ElderBerry BlueBerry CommieBerry
  • A Chinese company named RedTN has sued Redberry for violating one of its red patents.
  • OK, so the Chinese, unwilling to develop a worthy competitor to RIM, simply rip it off in a state-controlled game play. Apparently also, they do not care how this reflects on them as a people, and figure there will be no negative long-term consequences in the business world.
  • Berry Timely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:16PM (#15109407) Homepage Journal
    China probably waited for the BlackBerry/RTP patent lawsuit to settle. So BlackBerry (RIM) would have the least cash, and maybe the case would reduce the risk China's corporation would be blocked by patents. While BlackBerry and the problems of a single supplier make all the headlines. The last couple of weeks since the settlement is just enough time to unleash the hounds, but too short for the timing to be merely coincidental.
  • We export countless manufacturing jobs and import enough to make Chine one of the top five largest and richest economies, and this is how they treat the United States? I'm not even mentioning the devaluing of their currency and impact that has on our economy (actually I guess I just did). I think our administration (US) needs to take a hard look at China's obvious anti-competitive, and one sided global trade policies.
  • Why isn't Bush slapping China with a WTO "unfree trade" suit? They've got our oil, and compete with us with artificially lowered Commie wages!

    Besides, we opened our trade with Chinese corporations to open their markets for our advanced technology, manufactured there with their artifically lowered Commie wages for their Commie consumers to spend on our products. That's not fair!
    • China has cheap labor combined with advanced manufacturing facilities. Cheap labor = more profits, regardless of the product.

      Yeah, China's government is pure evil. But generally speaking, the CEO/stockholders of any given corporation really don't give a shit about human rights, or fair trade, or any of that stuff. Profits trump all of that. Actually, that's not true. PERSONAL WEALTH trumps all of that.
    • Talk to the Chinese in Shanghai sometime. They are PISSED at their government for not raising the value of the Yuan. Yes, your bitter but they are truely pissed thanks to the corruption that goes on in the CCP.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:25PM (#15109458)
    Just to set the records straight, Blackberry/RIM is based out of Ontario, Canada NOT USA.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:32PM (#15109501)
    This comes in the wake of an almost 2 year regulatory delay blocking the introduction of RIM's Blackberries to mainland China. Certainly this delay was convenient to China Unicom, if not deliberately staged to allow for domestic competition.

    You mispelled 'surveillance'.
  • Redberry = Raspberry?

    You know, the "I fart in your general direction" sound?

  • by dingbatdr (702519) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @05:38PM (#15109530) Homepage
    If you write anything on your device that says anything about Taiwan independence or
    Falun Gong, your phone tries to kill you.

  • I can hardly even bring myself to question things like this. Why do we still consider them a Most Favored Nation in trade status? All they do is steal our ideas and produce them with cheap, exploited labor. But the U.S. gov't refuses to do anything about it.

    Anymore you can pretty much take what *should* be done, then know that the U.S. gov't will not do it. Same with illegal immigration. What the heck is going on here? Why can't we just take a stand, cut off some Chinese products? Sure, everyone argu
    • You mean, cut off some chinese imports to stop illegal immigrants from coming up from Central America and Mexico into the US?

      Because the longest election cycle in the US is 6 years, and then, it's only partial, then the Senate's election cycle doesn't count, because at any time 1/3rd of the US Senate is really focused on getting reelected, rather than trying to maintain a longish view on where the US is going. The HORs are working on getting reelected almost from the getgo once they take their oaths in Jan
    • Maybe we should suck it up for a few years and get our OWN production back up. Everything is so short-term anymore.

      The problem with sucking things up is it means wearing a loss until you get sufficient momentum going. Your national debt is increasing at $2.5B per DAY. Guess who you owe 70% of that debt to? China. And if you stop borrowing from them or they stop lending to you, who are you planning to step in when your debt starts spiraling into the $3, $3.5B per day range?

  • ...Buckaroo Banzai:

    Wasn't every alien named "John berry?"
  • on popular consumer electronics:

    iPod -> iMao

    XBox -> XBoxerRebellion

    Sony PlayStation Portable -> Lenovo CulturalRevolution Portable

    Canon PowerShot -> Canon GreatLeapForward

    etc.
  • BlackBerry is available where I live (SE Asia), but the handset costs more than US$600 since phones aren't subsidized by the operators here, and push mail is an additional cost added towards the cellular bill. Not to mention the handsets don't support Asian languages. BlackBerry isn't likely go get anywhere, even if available, a local solution is much more useful...
  • by Hootenanny (966459) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:21PM (#15110096)
    In light of the understandable comments incited by the RedBerry, with the tune of "Commie bastards, ripping off our ideas and mass producing them," let's take a different look at our trade relations with China.

    A wise man once told me, "When a business deal is being made, the buyer is in control. The buyer brings $$$$ to the table. Nothing happens in a business deal unless $$$$ changes hands. Therefore, nothing will happen unless the buyer allows it to happen."

    To relate that to the China situation, the reason we have a trade deficit is because Americans, on an individual basis, want to buy cheap mass-produced goods. This is in stark contrast with Americans as a whole, who want our economy to be strong and trade deficits to lessen. (Both of these assertions are made on a generalized basis and may not hold true in all specific instances. But let it be sufficient to make my point.)

    To loosely paraphrase V in "V for Vendetta" - "to find the origin of your problems, you only need to look in the mirror." Remember this when buying Chinese imports at Walmart, or purchasing Lenovo laptops.

    Before modding me all to hell, realize that this is a classic problem of Nash game theory. We have a trade deficit with China because individual Americans have trouble simulaneously 1) buying what they want, and 2) doing what is best for the nation.

    This line of reasoning is tangential to the introduction of the "RedBerry", but necessary (I felt) in light of all of the economic nationalist posts that Slashdotters are furiously typing. 8)
    • In light of the understandable comments incited by the RedBerry, with the tune of "Commie bastards, ripping off our ideas and mass producing them," let's take a different look at our trade relations with China.

      I don't see why *we* would be upset about this at all. RIM might be cranky, yes. The people who get shafted are Chinese who aren't associated with the RedBerry, who are subsidizing the development of an alternative.
  • by davek (18465) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @11:34PM (#15111262) Homepage Journal
    Why is this being treated with any surprise? The government of china is communist, and by definition that means a single group of party leaders control essentially every aspect of a citizen's life. It seems perfectly logical that they would conciously block the deployment of a foreign product until a domestic one is released to the market.

    The question becomes: why did they choose to be deceptive in their practices? I think its part of comnunist philosophy, that leaders have to deceive the public to a certain extent, because full knowledge of what's really going on is not benificial to progress or economic success. And if this is really the case, why can't this be part of the political conversation instead of how best to use military force?

    -dave

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake

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