Alternate Reality

The Droid Does China, Commie-Style

Motorola’s Droid is making its way to China, but not before the Communist Party makes some major changes to the phone.

By (@JRRaphael)

December 8, 2009

The story you're about to read is not (entirely) true. It is, however, more accurate than most things on network television.

Droid ChinaWatch out, China: The Droid’s about to drop on the People’s Republic. A modified version of Motorola’s high-profile phone will launch in China this month, the company has announced — but don’t expect to see the same red-blinking, full-functioning device that debuted here.

The Chinese Droid, set to be branded as the MT710 Zhiling, will run on a “special version” of the Android operating system modified by China Mobile. China Mobile, if you aren’t aware, is a carrier owned and controlled by the Chinese government.

While the iPhone-to-China transition was a natural move — both Apple and the Chinese government operate on the same totalitarian principles, after all — preparing the Droid for a communist-friendly launch is requiring far more thought. eSarcasm has obtained early drafts of the MT710 Zhiling marketing campaign*, and it’s clear that the Chinese Droid will be drastically different from the phone we’ve come to know.

Among the changes being planned:

  • The catchphrase “Droid Does” will be replaced with “Zhiling Does…As Long As Hu Jintao Says It’s OK”
  • The branding of Android as an “open development” platform will be dropped; the words “slightly less oppressive than iPhone” will be used instead
  • All Zhiling users will be required to download at least three of the government’s iPhone apps, which will be ported into the Chinese Android Market
  • Forget that familiar blinking red eye — the Zhiling will blink nothing but five stars
  • GPS will be integrated into the phone, but only in reverse-functionality mode. An “optional” opt-in agreement must be signed prior to the phone’s activation, allowing China Mobile to use your tracking data for whatever the hell it wants
  • The newly revealed Google Goggles search-by-sight app will be available; however, rather than displaying detailed information about objects you photograph, it will simply display “GOOD” or “BAD,” depending on the government’s position. Photographing any “BAD” objects will result in your immediate arrest

Footnotes on the marketing documents indicate Apple dictator CEO Steve Jobs is serving as a key “oppression advisor” to the Chinese government as it works through the many modifications.

*Okay, so these “early drafts” were actually just old menus from the Green Tea II restaurant in Framington,
Massachusetts — you know, the one that created that delicious Wikipedia Beef dish. Still, we’re pretty sure they said all the stuff mentioned above. Either that, or something about white-meat chicken.

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