Meizu M9 with Android 2.2 coming soon

I have a bit of a romanticized relationship with shanzhai gadgets.  I always want them to be better than they really are.  Who could argue with a cheaper version of the same device?

A shanzhai gadget is one generally manufactured in the Shenzhen province of China, without backing of a name-brand.  You may know it as KIRF (keeping it real fake).  There are lots of shanzhai Android tablets out there, but very few of them are any good, and most of them l0ok like an iPad.  What marks something as shanzhai are a number of factors: it could copy an already existing device in form or function (like iPhone clones), it could innovate in a really odd way (a mobile handset with a butane lighter), or it could put a brand-name on a device that does not belong there.  Sometimes they do all three.  Rarely, the manufacturers in Shenzhen put out a truly useful and revolutionary device.

One of the big Shenzhen players is Meizu, makers of many iPhone clones- most of them have a resistive screen and a stylus.  The CEO of Meizu, Jack Wong, just announced that their upcoming M9 will boast a 960 x 640 pixel display (same as the iPhone 4's Retina display).  He also stated that it will run Android 2.2 and will launch by the end of the year, with demos out in October.

If this is not just an iPhone clone, this could signal a shift for the Shenzhen manufacturers.  If the hardware is not skimpy (for example, it ought to have a capacitive touch screen), this could really give the more well-known companies a run for their money.

To read more about shanzhai devices and culture, check out shanzai.com.

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