January 2009 Archives

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Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is famous for being the home of China's most beloved (and endangered) species - the Giant Panda. Last week, while visiting the city, I discovered that together with rare animal species, Chengdu is also home to one of the 21st century's most remarkable digital creatures: the Black-Voda-Pod.

The Black-Voda-Pod, also known as the Voda-Pod-Berry, encapsulates the dreams and realities of China's average mobile phone user: It is a fake BlackBerry device, sporting a fake Vodafone logo, and running a fake iPhone operating system, including a fake Opera web browser. And it works too.

The owner, a local soldier, did not seem to find this to be unusual in any way. "The only problem", he told me, "is that the BlackBerry Push Mail in not working. It's just not available in China".

Strange, mine seems to work. Further investigations with local community revealed that the "Emulational Mobile Phone" is gaining popularity due to its sleek design, low cost, and general appeal.
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