Look Out Android and iOS, Here Comes Alibaba’s Aliyun

Published on July 28, 2011
by John Paczkowski

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group is striking out in a new and unexpected direction. The company said Thursday it has developed a mobile operating system and that the first smartphones to use it are already headed to market. The Linux-based OS is called Aliyun and is reportedly capable of running Android apps as well as Web-based ones created with JavaScript and HTML5. It also features cloud-based email, Web search, GPS, and the ability to synchronize and store call data, text messages and photos in the cloud.

The first device to run Aliyun, Tianyu’s K-Touch Cloud-Smart Phone W700, will go on sale in China at the end of this month for about $416. It will be followed in short order by a tablet.

Alibaba is working on an English-language version of Aliyun and hopes to have it finished by the end of this year. It has no plans to make a handset of its own, though, preferring to leave that task to the OEMs. “We shouldn’t make a phone,” Wang Jian, president of Alibaba Cloud Computing, said during a press conference this morning. “We’re not in that ecosystem, and it’s a very good decision not to make a phone.”

[Image credit: Penn Olson]

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