On Friday 2 September Baidu launched its new Android-based mobile OS called “Baidu Yi” (Yi meaning Simple) at the Baidu World event in Beijing.
Because it is based on Google’s Android OS it has kept most of the same core features such as integrated voice search and a single sign-in to provide access to a vast offering of cloud-based apps and mobile backup services. Baidu has however replaced most of the Google Apps and replaced them with its own. There is Yue for eBooks, Baidu-powered maps and Shen Bian which offers similar functionality to Google Places with its local search recommendations.
Baidu Yi’s music app also integrated to Baidu’s extremely popular Ting service, which launched earlier this year and received very positive reviews.
Baidu also has some good Android apps that have been available for a while that it can now integrate into its new Baidu Yi platform, such as its input-method editor (IME) for typing or hand-drawing Chinese characters.
Baidu Yi will offer direct competition to Alibaba’s recently-launched mobile OS called AliYun. The company began discussions with Qualcomm to develop internals for low-end smartphones this summer, and it is also working on bringing a branded tablet to market before the end of the year.
Both Baidu and Alibaba have massive user bases in China, and the introduction of their new operating systems and hardware will have a significant impact on the world’s largest mobile internet market.
As Forbes reported Dell has signed a deal with Baidu in which Dell should provide tablets, such as the Streak 5 tablet, and smartphones to Baidu and based on reports from Bloomberg the devices will be using the Baidu Yi platform. Dell smartphones/tablets running Baidu Yi OS could hit the market as soon as November though Dell has not provided any official date for such a launch.
If you would like to find more information about Baidu Yi, there are a lot of screenshots and videos on the official Baidu site, but bear in mind that all the information is in Chinese.
More resources on Baidu Yi:
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