Feeds

Phone cloners eye 3G upgrade

It's a real Nokia, honest, and I paid nothing for it

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Nokia is a status symbol in Asia, but as Prada and Gucci have found out to their cost, even when it comes to status symbols, punters will make do with a knock-off.

Now they can get a more authentic knock-off.

Qualcomm has signed a chip agreement with a leading Taiwanese supplier whose chips often find their way into fake Western phones, including Apple and Nokia clones.

MediaTek produces silicon for a number of markets, but the most unusual and interesting is manufacturers of branded imitation 'dual SIM' versions of well known handset designs that were originally produced by top Western manufacturers such as Nokia. The handsets are only sold in the Chinese market, but the occasional one pops up on eBay.

Thanks to the PRC's somewhat selective enforcement of intellectual property laws - the Government tends to turn a blind eye when the infringer is home grown - the fake phone business has grown like topsy. Earlier this year, before Apple officially launched the iPhone into China, our own Rik Myslewski counted no fewer than eight Apple clones. Downstream MediaTek has prospered, now employing over 4,000.

Now Qualcomm has formally given the company wider access to its WCDMA patent portfolio. The additional irony is that Qualcomm is itself an intellectual property company, that owes its success to the successful defense of its innovation. Qualcomm points out that the IP agreement only covers MediaTek and not its customers - they'll need WCDMA licenses too.

Nokia was recently scornful of MediaTek's rapid growth. CFO Rick Simonson said MediaTek make lots of chips, because lots of them failed.

The phones "have a high [number of] quality problems, and you have to do numerous subtractions from the number [of] chips that are supposedly made in MediaTek to get in to the actual devices that are out on the street," he told analysts.

It further highlights the difficulties for Western companies of doing business in Asia - where the local genius for imitation and lax interpretation and enforcement of IP has made fashion and low grade electronics almost impossible to conduct. The best idea is always someone else's.

MediaTek has been in trouble before: in 2004 the MPAA pursued it for including DVD decryption code in its chips, and BT is suing it in the US for patent infringement. MediaTek denies the charge. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
You! AT&T! The only thing 'unlimited' about you is your CHEEK, growl feds
Man, we did everything but knock on their doors - carrier
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Watch out, Samsung and Apple: Xiaomi's No 3 in smartphones now
From obscurity to selling 19 million mobes a quarter
Brazil greenlights $200m internet cable to Europe in bid to outfox NSA
Only one problem: it won't make the slightest difference. And they know it
Wanna hop carriers with your iPad's Apple SIM? AVOID AT&T
Unless you want your network-swapping tech disabled for good, that is
Knocking Knox: Samsung DENIES vuln claims, says mysterious blogger is a JOKER
But YES, system does store encryption key on the device
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.