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Chinese Google rival Baidu builds its own Android platform Yi, Dell will back it up with hardware

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Chinese Google rival Baidu builds its own Android platform Yi, Dell will back it up with hardware
And just like that another OS based on the Android platform has emerged: the Baidu Yi operating system. Why is it different?

First of all, it targets China, the market with the largest number of customers, but also one hugely dependant on localized content and second of all it comes from the hugely popular locally Google rival Baidu.

Third of all, Dell is teaming up with the Chinese search engine and may provide future devices.

Baidu's Yi OS

Baidu's Yi OS

But what exactly is the Yi OS? It builds on Android, in a way similar to how Android is based on Linux. It has a similar UI, but most importantly it has all of its content focused on China, which might turn out to be a big deal.

The standard Google suite of apps has been replaced with Baidu’s own apps including Maps, a reader app called Yue, a Google Places alternative named Shen Bian and a powerful music application dubbed Ting.

Ting for once will offer licensed music downloads, while the platform in general will be tightly integrated with the cloud. Typing input is another swing factor for a Chinese OS and Yi in particular will come with an input-method editor for either typing or writing of Chinese characters.

Having Dell, which is increasingly popular in China, manufacture the hardware will be also a huge deal, but while the US company has issued a vague statement about collaborating with Baidu, it hasn’t pointed out any specific plans for Yi devices. It has however hinted strongly at tablets for once: "We have a partnership with Baidu and you know we have the Streak 5 tablet, so the partnership will be in that space," a Dell spokeswoman said. 

But if you expect only cheapo handsets for China, you might be surprised. Gartner Asian research director Sandy Shen doesn't think that Yi devices will exclusively target the low end, neither will they be limited to China only. We have our doubts about the latter, but we have to admit that - just as Shen points out - Yi can possibly use Dell's global outreach.

Aliyun OS

Aliyun OS

The Chinese market seems to be looking for an OS giving people more local content and recently Chinese e-tailer and eBay lookalike Alibaba unveiled its own mobile platform after years of secretly developing it - the Aliyun OS. While it’s also founded on an Android base, the platform puts the focus on the cloud with AliCloud. It’s not yet clear just what capacity that data center has, especially in comparison with the $1 billion capacity of Apple’s Virginia data center. Going to the cloud however is expected to make upcoming tablets and smartphones on the OS cheaper. But back to the Yi platform, has Baidu found the recipe for success in the crowded smartphone market in your opinion? 


12 Comments
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posted on 06 Sep 2011, 03:56

1. cadet (unregistered)


The only problem is there will be a log of privacy issues in general
But it is a good start for china

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 04:16 1

2. nyamo (Posts: 274; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)


a global market share seems slightly unrealistic IMO with an already crowded market. hell even MS is having problems penetrating market share right now. but this may indeed take off in china and possibly some other asian nations. but being a chinese product my only major concern would be with privacy

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 04:22

3. snowgator (Posts: 3275; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


Huh. Kinda makes you wonder what Dell has in store for it's Android/W7 handsets, which were only sold through it's website and only mildly recieved. I had heard of a Venue Pro update for W7 Mango, but haven't seen any solid plans. Heard nothing as far as an update to it's Android offerings. Could Dell be looking at this and thinking it is a better bet?

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 07:15 2

7. Blueberry (Posts: 7; Member since: 14 Aug 2011)


China land of hackers and piracy, seriously how could people trust this s**t os called YI...

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 07:43

8. HiTz (unregistered)


Hey did anybody noticed the all the cell phones used in this commercial were iPhone 3GS.......now they r officially gonna use fake iPhones in ads.......i smell a suite........:P

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 08:15

9. display (unregistered)


omg.i wanna go to china!

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 08:19 1

10. yi os (unregistered)


wtf!?is that for real, all phones are iphone with yi os? looool

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 09:11 3

11. Goldeneye (Posts: 357; Member since: 22 Jan 2011)


Is anybody surprised? Good old China copying and stealing everyone else's work

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 09:13

12. joey18 (Posts: 526; Member since: 20 Jul 2010)


Sorry is china when everthing is pooooosss b ask apple why s ... Samsung for copycats

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 10:27

13. Phullofphil (Posts: 801; Member since: 10 Feb 2009)


They could be samsung phones not iPhones lol

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 11:08

14. Mooooo (Posts: 212; Member since: 27 Aug 2011)


Linux grows

posted on 06 Sep 2011, 21:19 1

16. xmRipper (Posts: 3; Member since: 16 Feb 2011)


rofl everything in China is clone, what a shame to live in such a country.

even the people are clone! but their eyes uncloak it :P

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