Ever heard of Baidu? They’re the Chinese version of Google. Like Google, they started out with a search engine, but these days they offer a whole swath of cloud services such as email and even social networking. Back in September 2011, the company announced Baidu Yi OS, which can best be described as Android, except all of Google’s services have been replaced with Baidu’s equivalents. Today there’s news that Baidu is looking to take things one step further. The search giant is going to be releasing their own smartphone. It’ll be built by Foxconn, it’ll have a 3.5 inch screen, and best of all it’s going to cost just 1,000 Chinese RMB, which is roughly $160. No word on when this thing will be released, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it on store shelves by the end of the year.
Now for the important question: How will this device impact the Chinese market? On one hand, Baidu will likely say that their Baidu phone is the best phone on the market since it offers such tight integration with their services. On the other hand, Baidu knows that the only way for a service company to succeed is to have everyone in China using said services, and one way to enable that is to partner with as many hardware vendors as possible so that they can build Baidu devices. The latter is what will likely happen, since this low end Baidu phone will probably not appeal to those who are better off financially.
Should Nokia or Apple or Google be worried about Baidu? Nokia should be peeing their pants right now since Baidu not only knows the local market better, but they also plan to come out with a device that’s going to be cheaper than anything running Windows Phone. Apple shouldn’t care about Baidu since they’re an aspirational brand, and China’s middle class is growing at a furious clip. And as for Google, they’re too busy counting all the money they’re making in America and Europe.
[Via: Unwired View]