Looks like even the best clones of popular consumer electronics devices need the occasional firmware update every now and then. And while many may agree that this particular iPhone 4 clone is probably the most realistic looking imitation to exist out there, consumer demands have mandated that even knockoffs have some kind of upgrade path in place. Which is exactly what SoPhone's Sophone is about to receive sometime this year.
When it comes to making cheap knockoffs of popular consumer electronic devices, one does not need to look any further than the country known as China. Indeed, with countless clones of popular products such as notebooks, mobile phones and slate-like PCs being churned out daily, these imitations make suitable alternatives for consumers who want to own devices which look and perform just as well as their original counterparts without having to smash their piggy bank into tiny pieces with a sledgehammer.
Needless to say, it should probably come as no surprise that Apple's iconic iPhone is one of the more popular targets in China to undergo the cloning treatment. However, unlike what most OEMs would do with iPhone knockoffs, one OEM has opted to make its clone mimic the real iOS look and feel as much as possible by building its own Java-based firmware from ground up. And suffice to say, the results are realistic enough to pass the clone off as the real deal.
However, it seems that building its own 'iOS' for the Sophone has resulted in a unexpected consequence. Apparently, making use of its own in-house firmware means that SoPhone is unable to offer any firmware upgrades for the 'iPhone 4'. As a result, SoPhone has announced that its upcoming phone will cease using the customized Java-based operating system in favor of Google's Android operating system. Unfortunately, those who are hoping for the next generation Sophone to feature a spanking-new version of Android will probably wind up disappointed as SoPhone has confirmed that it will be Froyo that gets bundled into the new smartphone, and not Gingerbread or Honeycomb.
However, it appears that SoPhone does not intend to release any additional information about its upcoming Android-based Sophone anytime soon. Indeed, the only details which it has divulged thus far are the fact that it will be based off Froyo and is expected to make its grand appeareance sometime this year. That being said, it would be nice if SoPhone could at least drop a few hints as to whether its upcoming Android-powered Sophone will make use of extensive skinning to achieve a near-identical iOS look and feel or keep its firmware simple by making use of the stock Android interface. Well, we can only wait and see.