Baidu forks Android, partners with Dell for mobile offerings

By on September 6, 2011, 8:30 AM

Dell and Baidu are partnering to offer new smartphones and tablets in the fast growing Chinese market. Dell has been offering the mildly interesting 5-inch Streak smartphone/tablet hybrid for the past year, but it has failed to make any strides with it and was just recently dropped in the US market. Two other Streak products are available in different regions, the 7-inch Streak and the 10-inch Streak Pro.

Baidu, for its part, remains China's largest search engine, and is putting a stronger emphasis on mobile announcing a fork of the Android operating system called Yi. Dell is expected to build devices around Baidu's OS to rival Apple and Lenovo, two current dominant players in China's tablet market. China is home to over 900 million mobile phone subscribers according to Reuters.

"Dell has got nothing to lose, they don't have a big mobile presence, so by partnering Baidu, they will probably get some momentum for their mobile products," said Sandy Shen, a Shanghai-based research director with Gartner.

Baidu has not commented specifically on the alliance, only stating they already had a relationship with Dell and other device makers. A number of analysts are citing a parallel between this and other recent moves in the mobile industry like Google acquiring Motorola Mobility and Microsoft partnering with Nokia. It remains to be seen however if Baidu has any plans to expand abroad or if Dell is successful in catching a break on the mobile sector after less than stellar performances with such devices thus far.




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