iPhone clones: Let the games begin

Sure, we’ve seen a number of convincing iPhone clones from shady OEMs in China but 2008 could see a deluge of iPhone-like devices from more familiar names, like Microsoft, Nokia and Asustek. Taiwanese OEM rag Digitimes reports that a number of manufacturers, including BenQ, Compal and Arima Communications are “aggressively developing iPhone-like products” that would launch in 2008. Supposedly, these new handsets would run on some variant of Windows Mobile (Windows Mobile eyeFone Edition?) and could boast some beefy specs like 3G and GPS. Additionally, Digitimes thinks that Nokia will launch its own Symbian-based iPhone rip-off killer early next year, which is said to look a lot like the suspiciously familiar prototype that the company showed off in August.

Meanwhile, in a little place called Redmond, Microsoft has been filing patents for…well, something that looks a lot like the iPhone. Microsoft’s patent filing for “Extensible filtered lists for mobile device user interface” (seen above) looks to be a screen-by-screen copy of the iPhone. Is this the future version of Windows Mobile that all of those aforementioned OEMs plan to use? Is it the ZunePhone? Or is Microsoft simply attempting to patent the iPhone interface so that it can sue Apple? Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure though: in the immortal words of Yoda, “Begun, this clone war has.”

For more on the attack of the clones:
– see this Digitimes article
– this Engadget article on Nokia’s device
– and this Gizmodo piece on Microsoft’s recent patent filing

More stories about OEMs   Nokia   Windows Mobile   Patents   iPhone   Microsoft  


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