He Tao, a senior exec at Chinese battery- and auto-maker, BYD, posted news and a photo to his Weibo account yesterday, saying the company will soon release a self-developed Android smartphone.
The rather cryptic tweet was full of numbers, leaving his Weibo followers to guess what they pertained to. The full tweet said:
BYD is going to release a mobile phone bigger than 4, thinner than 11, bigger than 1500, higher than 2.3, and most important of all, smaller than 1000.
The specific meaning of all that is: the screen is bigger than 4 inches, the smartphone’s thickness is less than 11 millimetres, the battery capacity is greater than 1500mAh, it runs something newer than Android 2.3, and the price is less than 1000 RMB (US$157).
The image attached to the tweet (see above) shows a good-looking smartphone branded with “BYD ODM,” which is a reference to BYD’s ODM (original design manufacturer) division. It is not clear if BYD will simply be the ODM or launch its own brand of smartphone.
BYD is most famous for Warren Buffet’s investment in it, and is also a rapidly expanding ODM, supplying Nokia, Motorola, Huawei and many others. So it’s no surprise that they can make a handset – but it would be astonishing if they decide to sell it under the BYD brand-name.
With the greater maturity of manufacturing in China – and the relative openness of Android as an operation system – it is no longer hard for Chinese companies to produce their own brand of smartphones. During the past few months, we have seen many Android-based phones, such as the Xiaomi M1, the Baidu Yi platform, and the Meizu MX.