China Telecom to launch Palm and BlackBerry handsets this year?

Although we like to think of the US and European markets as the center of the cellphone universe, there are big (Big!) sales to be had elsewhere behind the unstoppable force of globalization. And when it comes to absolute numbers, markets just don't get any bigger than China with its estimated 700 million subscribers. Rumors of BlackBerry and Palm twist-ups with Chinese carriers are nothing new. In fact, RIM has already been a player in the Chinese market for years. Today, however, we've got a rumored timeline for bringing their handsets to China Telecom: end of 2009 or early 2010, according to a Reuters source. The move would give Telecom its first trendy western mobiles in hopes of improving its third place position behind Unicom and market dominating China Mobile in a battle for the hearts and minds and treasure of China's burgeoning population. And while RIM would certainly be pleased by the additional revenue source, Palm, with its modest marketshare by comparison, would be downright ecstatic at the prospect of tapping into China with its new smartphones.