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China: Law-abiding Android phones are OK

Government spokesman says phones using Google's Android operating system are allowed in China--"as long as it fulfills Chinese laws and regulations."

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Dell plans to sell its Android-based Mini 3 in China. Dell

Google and China disagree about censorship of Web search results, but a spokesman for China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Wednesday that phones using Google's Android operating system are permissible.

"As long as it fulfills Chinese laws and regulations and has good communication with telecom operators, I think its application should not have restrictions," said Zhu Hongren, the spokesman at a news briefing, according to the Associated Press.

Of course, China permitted Google's Web search service, too, as long as it complied with the law. But those terms ultimately proved objectionable to Google, which said earlier this month it will stop censoring search results even if that means it has to shut down its Chinese operations.

Android is an open-source operating system that anyone may use, and on phones today it includes a prominent Google search box on its home screen. The search element could be modified easily enough to use different search engines, though. And in any event, a search engine supplying results is separate from the devices that's requesting them.

Google postponed launches of Android phones from Samsung and Motorola earlier this month in China.

Dell also has plans to sell its Android-based Mini 3 in China.