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Appeared on: Friday, July 29, 2011
Alibaba Unveils New OS For Mobiles

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has launched its own mobile operating system for handsets and tablets in China, aiming at promoting its online products.

Alibaba subsidiary Alibaba Cloud Computing unveiled its internally developed cloud-based mobile device operating system, "Aliyun OS." The K-Touch Cloud-Smart Phone W700, the first mobile phone powered by the cloud OS, was also unveiled in China and will be introduced to the Chinese market at the end of July priced at 2,680 yuan (US$416). Alibaba partnered with Chinese handset manufacturer Tianyu and chip maker Nvidia to build the smartphone. The K-Touch Cloud-Smart Phone W700, and features a 3.8-inch touchscreen with a Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor.

AliCloud also plans to integrate the OS with other devices including mobile phones with larger screens and tablet computers in the coming months.

"Mobile users want a more open and convenient mobile OS, one that allows them to truly enjoy all that the Internet has to offer right in the palm of their hand, and the cloud OS, with its use of cloud-based applications, will provide that," said Wang Jian, president of Alibaba Cloud Computing. "Introducing cloud apps to mobile devices not only brings a whole new user experience, but also greater ease for third-party mobile software developers who will be able to use Internet technology such as HTML5 and JavaScript to reduce the complexity in the app development process."

The cloud OS will feature cloud services including e-mail, Internet search, weather updates and mapping & GPS navigation tools. The Aliyun OS not only can run Android apps, but it can also run Web-based apps built with HTML 5 or JavaScript.

Cloud OS users can synchronize, store and back-up data such as contact information, call logs, text messages, notes and photos to AliCloud's remote data center, and can also access and update this data across all their PC and mobile devices. AliCloud will provide each cloud OS user with a total of 100 gigabytes of data storage initially, with plans to expand according to user needs.

Third-party developers can opt to either develop cloud apps over their own servers or choose to use AliCloud's infrastructure and open platform services at a low cost and quickly develop their businesses.

According to latest statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the number of 3G mobile users in China now exceeds 80 million, or 9.5 percent of all mobile users nationwide. Sales of smartphones reached 62 million in 2010 and 19.07 million handsets were sold in Q1 2011; sales of smartphones accounted for approximately 30 percent of all mobile phone sales, up from 19.2 percent in Q1 2010 according to research firm Analysys International.


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