China’s top search engine Baidu Inc. recently launched a new mobile software platform, Baidu Yi (meaning “easy”), previewed at its annual World forum in Beijing. According to people familiar with the matter, Dell is teaming up with Baidu for manufacturing mobile devices and smartphones based on the Yi platform, which is expected to unveil this November.
Baidu Yi platform is currently based on Google’s Android mobile OS, which will include various applications from Baidu, such as maps, Shen Bian (like Google Places), Ting music platform, Yue (reader app). The new Yi platform will also feature strong cloud integration for storage, back-up and sharing with up to 180GB of online storage space – all the contents on the mobile are always synced and stored both on the mobile and in the cloud for anytime-anywhere access, including pictures, documents, contacts, calender,music, and videos, etc. The search box of Baidu Yi phone allows users to search the web even before the operating system have fully loaded.
According to the vice-president of Baidu, Wang Jing, Baidu has not ruled out the possibility of launching its own OS at a later date.
Baidu hasn’t said anything publicly about the new agreement with Dell yet, but did note that it had existing deals with other device manufacturers. Dell, however, is the first to commit to building hardware that utilizes Biadu Yi.
Baidu isn’t the first Chinese company to announce a mobile operating system with a cloud-based focus. Internet commerce site Alibaba recently introduced Aliyun OS, an Android-based OS designed to run mobile web apps.