The Alibaba smartphone was made by Chinese cellphone vendor K-Touch, and it is already available at a price of 2680 yuan (US$416), off-contract price. The design and specification of the new smartphone is identical to K-Touch W700. It’s powered by a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 8GB of internal memory. Also included is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, FM tuner, microSD slot, and has a 3.8 inch display with a resolution of 480 x 800. It also has two cameras, a 5 megapixel CMOS rear camera, and a 0.3 megapixel front facing camera, presumably for video chats. It supports GPRS, EDGE and HSPA cellular connections, and the handset comes with 10 different color designs. Thickness of the phone is measured at 13.7mm, weighs 153 grams. Inside the new smartphone is Alibaba’s self-developed mobile operating system ‘Aliyun’, which is based on Google Android.
A distinguishing feature of the Aliyun is its support for web-based apps. This offers users an Internet-like experience and it does not require the user to download or install application software on their mobile devices. Aliyun OS will feature cloud services including e-mail, Internet search, weather updates and GPS navigation tools. Users can seamlessly 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. Alibaba plans to integrate the operating system with other devices including mobile phones with larger screens and tablet computers in the coming months. An English-language version of the Aliyun OS is scheduled for release at the end of the year too.
Aliyun probably won’t turn out to be Android’s most fearsome competitor, not whilst Apple’s iOS is still around to have its say, but the launch of this new cloud-based mobile OS could at least set the Chinese smartphone market alight, especially when it is designed for mobile e-commerce. Then again, when not so much cellular subscribers in China are using a 3G handset, maybe innovation isn’t that important, we really wonder how dependent upon the Alibaba’s cloud platform actually is. If the 3G infrastructure is still a work-in-progress for many areas across the large Chinese land mass, it could definitely pose a problem for the handset.
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