Baidu forks Android to introduce its own mobile OS for China

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 239
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 239
    Cough cough... lawsuit... cough cough...
  • Reply 3 of 239
    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?
  • Reply 4 of 239
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 239
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by soggybacon View Post


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





    FRAGMENTATION'S A BITCH!



    nyaha
  • Reply 6 of 239
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 239
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 239
    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!...

    /

    /

    /
  • Reply 9 of 239
    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:



  • Reply 10 of 239




    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!
  • Reply 11 of 239
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 239
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 239
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 239
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,434member
    Hahahahahahahahaha!
  • Reply 15 of 239
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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?
  • Reply 16 of 239
    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!
  • Reply 17 of 239
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 239
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    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:



  • Reply 19 of 239
    nkalunkalu Posts: 315member
    Why won't the Chinese just create their own OS and stop replicating American technological ideas?
  • Reply 20 of 239
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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)
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