We carried a story some time back that China’s top search engine, Baidu is working on a new mobile operating system and now that news is official.
The company has launched a new mobile application system, which can be used by developers to develop applications for mobile and distribute it – a step towards developing its own mobile operating system.
Why it becomes important for us is the fact that Chinese handset vendors are the largest suppliers to the Indian handset brands, and they themselves have a sizeable presence in India. So it is almost certain that some of these innovations will find its way to India; already Alibaba, another Chinese company, has said that it does not rule out such a move in near future.
These operating systems and developer platforms will not just reduce the cost of smartphones but also the cost of applications by reducing the cost of development.
The “Yi Platform”, which is based on Google Inc’s Android mobile operating system, can be used by software developers to creating applications such as games, music and book tools that they can distribute through the platform.
“Yi will lower the cost, share users and increase traffic for developers,” Xu Yingchun, executive director of Baidu, said at the annual Baidu Technology Innovation Conference held recently. The service will also facilitate mobile phone manufacturers, he added.
Baidu plans to cooperate with cell phone makers and produce tailored products with the platform, which will add the company’s cloud-computing services to handsets.
Though they have not launched the operating system yet, Wang Jin, Baidu’s vice-president, told Dow Jones Newswires that the company is not ruling out the possibility of eventually developing its own operating system.
Alibaba Group, another Chinese internet giant, has already launched a mobile operating system called Aliyun, along with a handset which provides cloud-based services, with 100-gigabyte storage for each user.
Chinese market is rife with smartphone launches and new announcements. Xiaomi Corp, a start-up company which was founded by the Chinese Internet guru Lei Jun, released a smartphone with very high end performance, costing 1,999 yuan ($313) in August.
Huawei has also launched its first mobile phone offering cloud-based services in early August, and Sina Corp rolled out a line of smartphones catering to those using its micro-blogging service Weibo.
Baidu, which become big after Google’s exit Chinese market siting curbs and hacking, is facing renewed challenge from Google but this time in the mobile space and to tackle this challenge Baidu is focused on the mobile phones now.