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Baidu forks Android to introduce its own mobile OS for China

post #1 of 240
Thread Starter 
Baidu, Google's Chinese counterpart in search, has announced plans to take Android, strip it of Google's apps and services and replace them with its own under the brand Baidu Yi.

Baidu announced the plan at its annual Baidu World event in Beijing, according to a report by Penn Olson. The Chinese search company's services have already been used to replace Google's on Android phones sold in China, but the new initiative will spin a new OS off from the mainstream development of Android itself.

Baidu said it would deliver its own Maps, a service competing with Google Places, an ebook reader modeled after Apple's iBooks and a music player (depicted below from the Baidu website). The company will also fold in its apps that currently ship with Chinese Android phones, including a Chinese character input tool.

Baidu will target the new Yi OS in competition with Google's mainstream distribution of Android tied to its own apps, other Android variants already in use within China, and alternative mobile OS products like Alibaba, which is not based on Android but aims to run Android apps.

All of these products also compete with Apple's original iPhone, which has made an entry into China and will reportedly broaden its presence in a new partnership with the country's largest carrier China Mobile.



China's new fragment abandons Google

It's not clear what version of Android the new Baidu Yi will be based on. Android already suffers from an inconsistent, fragmented experience for users as individual phone makers and carriers add their own proprietary layers of apps and look and feel packages such as Motorola's Motoblur and Samsung's Touchwiz.

The new Baidu Yi OS, based on the open foundation code in Android, may run some Android apps but will face more technical barriers than the simple user experience overlays that complicate developers' ability to launch Android apps. Baidu's fragmentation barrier will be more like the OS version problems that split the Android ecosystem into incompatible API levels.

That issue is the result of hardware makers and carriers refusing to update earlier device models or taking several months to make updates available to users after Google issues a new build. Google's open model allows any partners to hold back updates, something Apple has eliminated with its policy of maintaining ownership of the iOS update system.

Of all Android devices to access Google's App Market over the past two weeks, half are still running last summer's Android 2.2 Froyo and only 30 percent are using Google's latest smartphone release, Android 2.3 Gingerbread. More than 16 percent are running a build older than Froyo, preventing them from being able to run modern apps.



Google's latest tablet-centric release, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, powers less than 2 percent of active devices, but it isn't used by a variety of tablet makers including Barnes & Noble Nook Color and Amazon's upcoming
post #2 of 240
China and Google don't get along.

This is where Apple's iOS platform will wreak havoc along side Baidu's own fork of Android. The irony will be how Google's big chance for ad revenue will be blunted on it's own platform by Baidu and the other platform, iOS.
post #3 of 240
Cough cough... lawsuit... cough cough...
post #4 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by soggybacon View Post

Cough cough... lawsuit... cough cough...

By who against whom? I assume you mean by Google against Baidu, but I'm not sure on what grounds they could sue since others are forking the OS without any legal problems. On top of that Baidu's OS will only be used in China and what chance is there that Google would actually bring a suit (let alone have any possibility of winning) against a Chinese company in China?
post #5 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

B
It's not clear what version of Android the new Baidu Yi will be based on. Android already suffers from an inconsistent, fragmented experience for users as individual phone makers and carriers add their own proprietary layers of apps and look and feel packages such as Motorola's Motoblur and Samsung's Touchwiz.

Of all Android devices to access Google's App Market over the past two weeks, half are still running last summer's Android 2.2 Froyo and only 30 percent are using Google's latest smartphone release, Android 2.3 Gingerbread. More than 16 percent are running a build older than Froyo, preventing them from being able to run modern apps.

Google's latest tablet-centric release, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, powers less than 2 percent of active devices, but it isn't used by a variety of tablet makers including Barnes & Noble Nook Color and Amazon's upcoming

What will all these forkers do when Google stops updating Froyo (and/or Gingerbread), eg, no security fixes anymore? And when Google at the same time keeps dragging its feet on releasing the code for Honeycomb or Icecream Sandwich.
post #6 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by soggybacon View Post

Cough cough... lawsuit... cough cough...


FRAGMENTATION'S A BITCH!

nyaha

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post #7 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by soggybacon View Post

Cough cough... lawsuit... cough cough...

Given that the OS is OSS, I have a hard time imagining what grounds they would sue on.
post #8 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

What will all these forkers do when Google stops updating Froyo (and/or Gingerbread), eg, no security fixes anymore? And when Google at the same time keeps dragging its feet on releasing the code for Honeycomb or Icecream Sandwich.

Then Baidu will have to create something new.

HA!

PS watch this space - it's conceivable that Baidu could be the one using Google to force the release of the source, which Google is legally obliged to do. Until now no one has had the interest in forcing them to fulfill their legal requirements, but this could be how it happens.
post #9 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post

What will all these forkers do when Google stops updating Froyo (and/or Gingerbread), eg, no security fixes anymore? And when Google at the same time keeps dragging its feet on releasing the code for Honeycomb or Icecream Sandwich.

By then, China will have been able to study Android long enough to be able to work up their own stuff to which they can update, create their own apps etc. Just like Google did when the Android phone they had prototype miraculously morphed into a similar version of iPhone.

Hey what's good for the goose!...
/
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post #10 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

By then, China will have been able to study Android long enough to be able to work up their own stuff to which they can update, create their own apps etc. Just like Google did when the Android phone they had prototype miraculously morphed into a similar version of iPhone.

Hey what's good for the goose!...
/
/
/

Not really sure why people keep posting that tablet image. How about this:

Before iPad:



iOS5 on iPad:

post #11 of 240


It looks like the OPENESS of Android has come back to byte Google in the proverbial ASSOMETRICS - LOL.

Good job Google!

Keep on keepin on.

Sooooooo funny!
post #12 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Given that the OS is OSS, I have a hard time imagining what grounds they would sue on.

Android is far from all open source, although stripping out the Google parts goes a ways towards stripping out the closed source parts. You are right that Google would have no grounds and no legal weight behind them to sue Samsung for forking an ostensibly open sourced system though.

The real problem will be that the mounting legal challenges to Android as a whole will likely force Google to hunker down with it's own "approved" version of Android with all the legally problematic stuff removed or replaced, and use it only on it's own (Motorola) phones. The natural response to Google's recent Motorola move will be that the other vendors fork Android but since they are all asian companies, they will likely *not* toe the line on things like patents and other legal entanglements.

So moving forward, this will mean that you will have iOS, Windows Phone 7 Ultimate Edition, GoogleMotoAndroid and perhaps WebOS phones on one side, versus a host of quasi-legal, mostly copyist, asian crap phones on the other.

I think this could work out rather well. All the millions of folks who don't give a crap about the law or what's original and what's not will have access to bushels of quasi-legal phones from reasonably decent manufacturers like Samsung. All those that care about a quality experience will have a choice of three or four competitive slick alternatives from some world-class players.
post #13 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Not really sure why people keep posting that tablet image. How about this:

Before iPad:



iOS5 on iPad:


Split keyboards of both types have been around forever. These pictures don't actually show what you think they do.
post #14 of 240
With the Amazon tablet and now this, Google can't be too happy about losing control of the OS it's done all the development work on (even if they did steal large chunks of, er, inspiration for it).

My bet is they redefine "open" a bit and close Android just enough to make it harder for other parties to fork into anything that threatens to become a large platform independent of Google, as the Kindle tablet platform will probably be.

And at the same time deploy their propaganda bots to make it seem like it's the best thing to happen to the industry.
post #15 of 240
Hahahahahahahahaha!
post #16 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Not really sure why people keep posting that tablet image. How about this:

Before iPad:

image: http://uncrate.com/p/samsung-q1-2.jpg

iOS5 on iPad:

image: http://ipadresolution.com/wp-content...t-keyboard.png

1) What device is that "before iPad". All devices "before iPad"?

2) What was your point in posting that? Are you saying that Apple completely revamped the way the iOS looked and felt in it's 5th version because there was split keyboard in a layover of WinXP in a some prototype device? Are you not aware of split physical keyboard existing before of these handheld devices existed?

3) Why ignore that Android completely trashed it's clone of Blackberry to copy the iPhone?
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post #17 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Not really sure why people keep posting that tablet image. How about this:

Before iPad:



iOS5 on iPad:


I think you really need to show a side or angled elevation to represent the photo 'you've' posted.
That particular tablet was a chunky hunk of plastic if a remember rightly!
post #18 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Of all Android devices to access Google's App Market over the past two weeks, half are still running last summer's Android 2.2 Froyo and only 30 percent are using Google's latest smartphone release, Android 2.3 Gingerbread. More than 16 percent are running a build older than Froyo, preventing them from being able to run modern apps.

Can this idiot stop writing about Android ? I it is poignant indeed to see how he cares about the tough life of the poor Android developer, who lives in this ugly bush full of these fragmentation animals and some pesky forkers in China make his life even more miserable, but guess what ?
Developers are not complaining. They have no problem to scale down the app if the particular feature or API is not available, as support for this is built right into the system. It is not that difficult to use it.
Or you eventually ignore the 5% of owners of really old systems, the same way iOS developers ignore the owners of original iPhone, or people who are out of luck with updates as they never connect to anything running iTunes and great, magical "discovery" of OTA updates is only coming in not yet released version of iOS.
How this is "preventing" to run modern apps is only clear to DED when he smokes that stuff only he has.

And the best part is the fragmentation is feature of Android, not its shortcoming.
post #19 of 240
Hell they were using tablets on Star Trek. So no its not a new idea.

The point is about how it functions and how it works.


Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Not really sure why people keep posting that tablet image. How about this:

Before iPad:

iOS5 on iPad:
post #20 of 240
Why won't the Chinese just create their own OS and stop replicating American technological ideas?
post #21 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by dogchop99 View Post

I think you really need to show a side or angled elevation to represent the photo 'you've' posted.
That particular tablet was a chunky hunk of plastic if a remember rightly!

Here is the device with specs. It's pretty pathetic that this is what the world considered a modern tablet just a couple years ago. This was the latest and greatest model (top) and a previous model (bottom)


http://www.gizmag.com/samsung-releas...es-umpcs/9718/
http://www.samsung.com/us/pdf/UMPC_LR.pdf (PDF)
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post #22 of 240
Yeah we'll see how this "feature" works out with Google's version of Android, Amazons version of Android, this Chinese version of Android, who ever else may attempt to fork Android.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainless View Post

And the best part is the fragmentation is feature of Android, not its shortcoming.
post #23 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

2) What was your point in posting that?

Probably to derail a discussion of bad news for Google and Android. I suggest we all ignore it and continue talking about a news story that portends the most glaring example of Android platform fragmentation yet.

edit: Yep. Check out the posting history. Google apologist. I suggest everyone ignore and move on.
post #24 of 240
Android is a train wreck.
post #25 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


Android already suffers from an inconsistent, fragmented experience for users as individual phone makers and carriers add their own proprietary layers of apps and look and feel packages such as Motorola's Motoblur and Samsung's Touchwiz.


I never quite understood this line of thinking. Isn't similar to saying that UNIX suffers from an inconsistent, fragmented experience for users as individual PC makers add their own proprietary layers, like Apple's OSX?

My point is, why would a Motorola phone user care whether or not Samsung has a different look and feel, any more than an OSX user would care that TRIX has a different look and feel? They each started as UNIX.
post #26 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

I never quite understood this line of thinking. Isn't similar to saying that UNIX suffers from an inconsistent, fragmented experience for users as individual PC makers add their own proprietary layers, like Apple's OSX?

My point is, why would a Motorola phone user care whether or not Samsung has a different look and feel, any more than an OSX user would care that TRIX has a different look and feel? They each started as UNIX.

That's a silly argument. To be accurate you need to compare flavours of UNIX with that of Linux. No one said it was silly for Android to be built atop Linux just as it's not silly for Mac OS X to be built atop Darwin, a UNIX-certified OS.

What you're suggesting is that Apple license their Mac OS X to other vendors (like HP, Dell and Acer), let them call it Mac OS X, but then have them change the OS and UI so that it no longer resembles Apple's version and often prevents Mac App Store apps from running on these forks of Apple's version for various HW and SW reasons. Does that really make sense to you?
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post #27 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

By then, China will have been able to study Android long enough to be able to work up their own stuff to which they can update, create their own apps etc.

Sure, but they might hit the ground running but they still will have to keep running for themselves. How much does Google invest into Android every year, if every third-party manufacturer has to invest the same to keep their forked version of Android on par with Google's, there have no real advantage anymore compared to what Apple spends every year on keeping iOS current and competitive.
post #28 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

Not really sure why people keep posting that tablet image. How about this:

Before iPad:



iOS5 on iPad:


haha...Your response to Google completely revamping the idea of a smartphone based on the release of the iPhone is to compare a minor iOS5 feature's bleak resemblance to a failed MS product's software feature?

The only resemblance between the 2 is the keyboard is split...Heck, HW ergonomic keyboards have been doing that for over a decade. Maybe you should have put a picture of one of those on there.
post #29 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That's a silly argument. To be accurate you need to compare flavours of UNIX with that of Linux. No one said it was silly for Android to be built atop Linux just as it's not silly for Mac OS X to be built atop Darwin, a UNIX-certified OS.

What you're suggesting is that Apple license their Mac OS X to other vendors (like HP, Dell and Acer), let them call it Mac OS X, but then have them change the OS and UI so that it no longer resembles Apple's version and often prevents Mac App Store apps from running on these forks of Apple's version for various HW and SW reasons. Does that really make sense to you?


I'm not suggesting anything of the sort. Apple seldom licenses software in that manner.

What I am suggesting is that OSX users have no disappointments because software for other flavors of UNIX do not run on OSX. Likewise, I don't understand why MOTOBLUR users would care that software for TouchWiz won't run on their handsets.

Both OSX and, for example, UNIFlex started as UNIX. Both MOTOBlur and Baidu's OS started as Android.

Nobody clams that OSX users are frustrated because of their inability to run software developed for Red Hat. But DED and others say that some Android users are frustrated because of the variety of Android implementations.

I don't quite understand the distinction.
post #30 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That's a silly argument. To be accurate you need to compare flavours of UNIX with that of Linux. No one said it was silly for Android to be built atop Linux just as it's not silly for Mac OS X to be built atop Darwin, a UNIX-certified OS.

What you're suggesting is that Apple license their Mac OS X to other vendors (like HP, Dell and Acer), let them call it Mac OS X, but then have them change the OS and UI so that it no longer resembles Apple's version and often prevents Mac App Store apps from running on these forks of Apple's version for various HW and SW reasons. Does that really make sense to you?

Baidu won't call their fork android, Grid (FusionGarage) doesn't call THEIR fork android, Neither does Barnes and Noble (Nook) and I doubt amazon will either.

Most "Fragmentation" issues are completely avoided with a fork because these products are not billed as the same thing. They don't share a common app store, they're not called the same thing, in Baidu's case it's in a completely different market.

The average user doesn't buy a nook and then complain that she can't get all the apps on it she has on her phone because there is NO expectation that she would.

These devices won't have the android market, they won't have Google applications, they cannot (legally) have Google anywhere on the device, the advertisement, or the box, nor would baidu put Google there since it's a direct competitor.

This isn't a "Fragmentation" issue in any way that matters to the consumer.
post #31 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

I never quite understood this line of thinking. Isn't similar to saying that UNIX suffers from an inconsistent, fragmented experience for users as individual PC makers add their own proprietary layers, like Apple's OSX?

My point is, why would a Motorola phone user care whether or not Samsung has a different look and feel, any more than an OSX user would care that TRIX has a different look and feel? They each started as UNIX.

1) Because devs develop for Android, and not for Motorola Blur, or HTC Sense.
2) UNIX isn't a single OS, the way Android tries to be. UNIX is largely a certification any OS can get if it contains certain programs. Unlike Android, where a new company like Amazon, or Baidu steps in and forks off Google's codebase, UNIX OS'es would be developed independently, from independent codebases.
3) A better comparison is Linux, which is indeed like Android, and terribly fragmented. Hence its lack of success in the desktop market. The only glimmers of success Linux has seen is when a certain distribution of Linux has dominated a market (Red Hat in enterprise, Ubuntu in desktops).
post #32 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Hahahahahahahahaha!

Hey, you totally stole what was going to be my post!

Sorry Google, looks like Baidu is as busy innovating as you are. Maybe even more so in your strange world of "copying == innovation".
post #33 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

I'm not suggesting anything of the sort. Apple seldom licenses software in that manner.

What I am suggesting is that OSX users have no disappointments because software for other flavors of UNIX do not run on OSX. Likewise, I don't understand why MOTOBLUR users would care that software for TouchWiz won't run on their handsets.

Both OSX and, for example, UNIFlex started as UNIX. Both MOTOBlur and Baidu's OS started as Android.

Nobody clams that OSX users are frustrated because of their inability to run software developed for Red Hat. But DED and others say that some Android users are frustrated because of the variety of Android implementations.

I don't quite understand the distinction.

OS X did NOT start as UNIX. OS X BECAME UNIX around OSX 10.5...You have a fundamental misgiving of what UNIX is, or how OS X was created. Apple did not fork off any codebase to create OS X (although they did include Open source components, on which they based their code, but it wasn't a fork).

And you are right that MotoBlur can succeed even if devs can't develop the same apps for HTC Sense, or Baidu's OS, like OS X succeeded, based solely on its own install base.

But at that point it makes no sense to class all those together. Unlike Android (which is an OS in itself) UNIX is a specification (like Bluetooth, for example). HP, Solaris, IBM, Apple, all have versions of UNIX whose codebases have little to nothing to do with each other, but meet the same specifications, so they are all certified as UNIX. In this case, Baidu and Amazon are using the ACTUAL Android code for their SW but once they fork it off, there need not be anything similar about the original Android OS and the Baidu fork, for example...
post #34 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

... UNIX is largely a certification any OS can get if it contains certain programs. ...

This is not true at all.

Just sayin.
post #35 of 240
1. Look google self exiled itself from China by refusing to censor stuff.
2. Chinese (recent version of chinese, let's not argue history here) love to steal ideas and make their own products.
3. Chinese (see above) love to make knockoffs.
4. Google lets anyone steal their ideas cause they see no point in copywrites and patents when they can sell ads.

The result is Y-iOS.

Actually they've had the oPhone for a while also, which is a clone of Android as well.

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post #36 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Menno View Post

Baidu won't call their fork android, Grid (FusionGarage) doesn't call THEIR fork android, Neither does Barnes and Noble (Nook) and I doubt amazon will either.

So long as they don't claim to be Android and try to access the Android Market I wouldn't call them Android fragmentation, but that's why we have the term fork. But's that's all beside point because Android does have plenty of fragmentation that does it make difficult for consumers and developers alike.
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post #37 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Yeah we'll see how this "feature" works out with Google's version of Android, Amazons version of Android, this Chinese version of Android, who ever else may attempt to fork Android.

I am afraid you haven't got the point. Try to click on that link.

Even if I buy into your argument, Google's Android and Amazon's Android and quite likely the Baidu's Android will have identical API and application run all of them just fine, no matter how different the launcher applications look (the MotoBlur, SenseUI, TouchWiz, whatever else is completely irrelevant to application developer). iOS is as "fragmented" with iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPad Touch, iPad and iOS 1 through 5
post #38 of 240
Kind of funny since Bing handles the English search results for Baidu
post #39 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

haha...Your response to Google completely revamping the idea of a smartphone based on the release of the iPhone is to compare a minor iOS5 feature's bleak resemblance to a failed MS product's software feature?

The only resemblance between the 2 is the keyboard is split...Heck, HW ergonomic keyboards have been doing that for over a decade. Maybe you should have put a picture of one of those on there.

As pointed out countless times: Android was designed from the start to be modular and adaptive to a variety of form factors. That pre-iphone model is just a single model shown, of an unknown number of others. (And existing android handsets USE that form factor).

Secondly, Every company had to rework their strategy when the iphone came out. That's kinda what a game changer does. Did you really expect Microsoft, RIM, Palm, etc to continue making the same types of devices when apple showed them a previously untapped market? That's how this kinda stuff works. A company comes out with a good idea, and other companies adapt it. Apple does this too. Companies that don't adapt to changes die. NO ONE is saying that android didn't change it's strategy when the iphone was announced. You're just arguing that this is somehow unique to google, which is wrong. Google had the advantage because their product wasn't released yet, so they didn't have to worry about legacy support or consumer expectations.

When you bring a new product to market, you look at what the current "It" phone is and you build your product to compete against it. You don't say "well, we have this design that's losing popularity, but we'll stick with it anyway" Rim tried that, remember? Then they tried making their current OS touch (the storm) now they're rewriting the whole thing in QNX. That's what technology DOES. Yes, even Apple.
post #40 of 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainless View Post

iOS is as "fragmented" with iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPad Touch, iPad and iOS 1 through 5

Well, I actually think some apps developed for iOS 3 run on iOS 4, and I know for a fact that vast majority of apps I use on iOS 4 run perfectly on iOS5. Plus iPhone 3GS runs iOS 4, etc. So not as fragmented as you make it out to be.
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