France, China team up for phone browser

Jan. 14, 2013 at 4:08 PM
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PARIS, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A French telecommunications provider says it has teamed with Chinese Internet search giant Baidu on a browser for low-end smartphones sold in Africa.

France Telecom said the Web browser would be pre-installed on phones sold in Africa, where the company has about 80 million subscribers, the BBC reported Monday.

Slow data speeds on African mobile networks have been a hurdle to full-blown web-browsing, the company said, so the new browser would utilize custom code that decreases the amount of data sent back and forth when visiting websites, and dedicated icons on the main screen of the basic smartphones would directly connect users to the most popular sites like Facebook and Twitter.

"We want to make the mobile Internet as ubiquitous as possible as fast as possible," Xavier Perret of wireless carrier Orange, a subsidiary of France Telecom, said.

France Telecom partnered with Baidu because the search firm was instrumental in facilitating a similar switch from basic mobiles to low-end smartphones in China, Perret said.

The browser will be launched first in Egypt in Arabic and English, and a French version is also being developed, France Telecom said.

It will also be available as a download for phones on other networks, the company said.

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