A mobile phone with Google's Android operating system that was delayed in China will now ship next week, in the latest sign that Android has gone largely unscathed by a row between Google and the Chinese government.
A subsidiary of mobile carrier China Unicom has started letting users reserve the Motorola XT701 and estimates the phone will ship around March 13, according to its Web site. The pre-sale appeared to have started Thursday or later.
[ Related: "China Unicom to use Android despite Google-China row." | Stay up on tech news and reviews from your smartphone at infoworldmobile.com. | See which smartphone is right for you in our mobile "deathmatch" calculator. ]
The price of the Motorola XT701 was listed as 4,299 yuan ($630) on the China Unicom site. The 3G phone has a 3.7-inch touchscreen.
The Motorola phone was one of two Android phones delayed in China after Google said in January that it planned to stop censoring results on its China-based search engine. Google's announcement raised fears of a possible government backlash and harm to the use of Android in China. Google.cn is currently still censoring search results, but lifting its filters would defy Chinese regulations.
Google did postpone availability of Google apps on Android phones from Chinese carriers. That is certainly a blow for the company, said Zhang Jun, an analyst at research company Wedge MKI.
"Mobile is a really promising market," he said. After Google's announcement, Motorola formed a search deal with Google's Chinese rival, Baidu.com.
But interest in Android itself, an open source OS, has stayed high among companies in China. Lenovo, China's top PC maker, and Dopod, which distributes HTC phones in China, both say their plans to use Android on upcoming phones have been unaffected. The top executive at China Unicom this week called Android a mainstream OS and said the carrier, which is state-owned, will use it on phones. And a government-linked computer maker, Lemote Technology, is optimizing Android to run on a laptop with a Loongson microprocessor, part of a state-backed line of chips.
China's IT ministry has said it will not restrict the use of Android as long as the OS conforms with Chinese regulations.