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REFILE-UPDATE 1-China Unicom to sell Android phones despite spat
(Refiles to add word Android in headline)
* Unicom moves forward with Android despite Google-China spat
* Sees Android as 'mainstream system' (Adds details, background)
BEIJING, March 3 (Reuters) - China Unicom (0762.HK), China's No. 2 mobile carrier, said it will sell handsets running Google's (GOOG.O) Android operating system, dispelling doubts raised after a dispute between Google and the Chinese government.
In January, Google postponed the launch of two Android-based mobile handsets in China, for which Unicom would have been the carrier. The delay followed a high-profile spat between Google and Beijing over a hacking incident and Google's unhappiness over having to self-censor its Web-based search results in China.
"We are open to mobile phone operating systems, and we recognise that Android is a mainstream system," Unicom Chairman Chang Xiaobing said on Wednesday on the sidelines of the opening of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing. "We will definitely use Google's Android in our mobile handsets," he said.
China's top mobile carrier, China Mobile (0941.HK), is also selling cellphones in China running the open-source Android operating system.
The future of Android in China was briefly called into question in January after Google said it was postponing the launch of two mobile phones in the country using the open source platform, which Google is using to challenge similar products from Microsoft (MSFT.O) and Nokia (NOK1V.HE). [ID:nTOE60I0AR]
The manufacturers of the telephone, which was scheduled for launch in China in late January, are Motorola MOT.N and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS).
Several days after the postponement announcement, Lenovo (0992.HK), China's largest PC seller which also recently re-entered the cellphone space, said its mobile phone based on Android would not be affected by the ongoing dispute between Google and China.
Unicom is also the sole seller of Apple's (AAPL.O) popular iPhones in China.
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