Chinese search engine Baidu has formally entered the mobile device arena by announcing its own mobile OS, as well as entering into an alliance with Dell to produce tablets and smartphones.
Baidu, whose name was inspired from a poem written during the Song Dynasty, has launched its long-anticipated mobile OS named Biadu Yi.
Biadu Yi appears to be a heavily modified Android fork that utilizes cloud storage, backup and sharing capabilities, and comes with its own app store. Baidu had been rumored to be planning the OS – and to be using a modified version of Android – for some time, but had refused to provide confirmation.
In addition to Biadu Yi, it is being reported that Baidu will supply its own maps, reader, music apps, and provide its Shen Bian service to stand in for Google Places. The music app will likely integrate with Baidu’s Ting licensed music download service.
With its alliance with Dell in place, and a new OS ready for distribution, Baidu appears to have a solid footing with both software and hardware for mobile devices. While Dell has struggled to find the success in the mobile device market that it enjoyed in the PC market, entering into an alliance makes sense as Baidu is one of the strongest domestic brand names in China and also dominates China’s search market.
China has an estimated 906+ million mobile phones in operation, making it nearly 3 times as big a market as the United States. While Baidu has thus far sat on the sidelines in the mobile device war, it now looks like it is preparing to strike. The combination of their Biadu Yi OS, along with a steady supply of mobile devices from Dell, gives them a fighting chance to make inroads into the mobile-device rich Chinese market.
It’s unknown if Baidu’s sights are just on the Chinese market but one thing is certain, before you have a chance to make your mark in the mobile device wars, you first have to be good enough to make your competitors aware that you even joined the fight.
What do you think? Will Biadu YI make a dent in the Chinese market? Will it one day be a viable competitor to Android? Let us know in the comments!