China-based Alibaba Group is reportedly planning to develop and launch its own mobile operating system to rival Google’s Android platform and Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, the Wall Street Journal reports.
With roots in online commerce, retail, payment platforms and cloud computing services, Alibaba’s decision to become a smartphone software vendor could benefit the company in its home country as it would be able to provide consumers with known services for its own operating system.
Reports suggests that the new smartphone platform will launch in the third quarter and could position applications in the cloud rather than on the handset itself, moving it away from downloading apps to the device. Chinese smartphone owners will see the operating system first but sources have indicated that there is “nothing that prevents it from being used elsewhere eventually”.
Alibaba’s announcement closely follows rumours that Chinese search engine Baidu is to release its own Android-based Mobile OS called Qiushi which will be released by year-end. The company hopes to dominate the Chinese market by going super local but also integrating its existing mobile services including its mobile input method, service aggregator, maps, browser and search.