Feeds

Phone cloners eye 3G upgrade

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.