We stopped by Meizu‘s stand at CeBIT today, to take a look at what many have been calling their “iPhone clone”; the M8 – which does bear a striking resemblance to Apple’s cellphone – has been knocking around in render and prototype form since last year, but so far there’s yet to be a working model displayed. Well, they’ve partially got it running now; the handset itself, while apparently containing the actual hardware of the finished model, simply swaps between three screenshots depending on which front-panel button you press (and they demo guy kept taking it back to fix it), but there was an engineering board that we could play with and marvel at how closely the M8′s interface resembles that of the iPhone, finger-flicks included.
As for the design, Meizu insist that it’s not a copy of the iPhone – in fact, that they had finalised the appearance by the end of 2006 and that Samsung helped them develop the casing; they’re saying that they’ve got proof that it’s their own creation. They didn’t say whether the GUI (which sits on top of Windows CE 6.0) was developed before or after Apple, however; we’re thinking definitely after, as it’s a very, very close facsimile of the iPhone’s interface.
Aesthetics aside, while the 3.4-inch screen – at 720 x 480 – is delectably crisp and a 3-megapixel camera bests the Apple handset, the lack of 3G (like the iPhone, the M8 is GPRS/EDGE only) and the fact that it still won’t launch for another six months does put a serious dampener on the M8. Still, I do wish the iPhone had the M8′s TV-out and Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR!