While Mozilla announced that it is working on a cloud based mobile OS based on Linux kernel to rival Google’s Android, Alibaba has unveiled an actual cloud based mobile OS. Called as Aliyun, this new mobile operating system is apparently free, based on Linux and is tightly integrated to cloud, avoiding the need to install apps. If that’s not enough to shake Android, then this should : Aliyun OS can run Android apps too.
Aliyun will first be released on K-Touch cloud smartphone W700 (Tian Hua 700) with 20 apps in-built and a new app coming up every day. The apps on the Alibaba OS and the phone will be able to handle things like email, photos, maps, text messages and social networking. A 100GB of cloud storage is provided to integrate all the data to the cloud.
Best part about Aliyun OS is along with the native apps, it can run HTML5 apps as well as Android apps.
Steve Jobs announced iCloud and iOS5 and how tightly integrated a smartphone experience will be to the cloud. Alibaba’s cloud solution is no different. It happens to be released for the China customers right now and if that market is captured by a Chinese company there is little else Apple, Android or Windows can do.
Google was gung ho on Asia’s computing market. Its former CEO Eric Schmidt said this in his recent Asia trip. Of course, Mr. Schmidt is betting on Android and Google search to capture huge market in Asia, especially China. But Google doesn’t stand a chance in search market because of Baidu. Google’s next best hope is (was) Android. Now it is being threatened by Aliyun. There were also rumors that Baidu will come up with its own mobile operating system to counter Android. Looks like Google has its task cut out.
Aliyun OS being free and based out of China means a deluge of cheap Chinese handsets flooding Indian markets offering just about every thing an Android powered phone does. Right now we have few phones in the sub-10K range with Android goodness. In few months time, we will have a phalanx of Aliyun powered touch screen phones in the sub-10K range. Micromax, Spice and Karbonn which have brought cheap Android phones will be at the front to bring in Aliyun powered phones.
The recent news doesn’t augur well for the progress of Android. It isn’t doing well in the tablet market, its smartphones are seeing 30%-40% return rates, patent trolls are just waiting to take their piece of share and now two new mobile operating systems (B2K and Aliyun) challenging the openness of Android.
More than anything else the danger of a truly open operating system coming out of China is something which should keep Google strategists up at night.