According to several online reports, Google is holding the release of two Android phones slated for Chinese carrier China Unicom. The phones, manufactured by Motorola and Samsung, were originally scheduled to go on sale this Wednesday.
“The launch we have been working on with China Unicom has been postponed,” a Google spokesperson told the BBC.
Google could not be reached for further comment on the matter before press time. Subsequent calls to Motorola and Samsung were not immediately returned.
The news comes as Google last week threatened to pull out of China altogether. Google accused China as the source of a malicious cyber attack that was thought to target the e-mail accounts of human rights activists working the country.
On Jan. 12, David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, posted a blog on the topic of the company’s changing relationship with China.
“Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident – albeit a significant one – was something quite different,” Drummond wrote.
Google launched the Chinese version of its services, www.google.cn, in 2006. Drummond notes in his blog that Google made it very clear from the beginning that it would be keeping close tabs on cyber security in the Communist state.
“At the time we made clear that we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined, we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China,” Drummond wrote.
The dispute clearly is not over. Google has made no immediate moves to deactivate any of its services operating in China. The Internet has received an outpouring of support in its stand against China, and many activists are calling for Microsoft, Yahoo! and Cisco to also pull out of China.