Alibaba enters the mobile OS fray

Alibaba is looking to enter the mobile OS market with it's own custom offering and smartphone to power it
Matthew Finnegan
Matthew Finnegan -


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has announced that it is set to enter the mobile operating system market.

The firm will do battle with established operating systems such as Android, iOS and the forthcoming Windows effort.

Not an easy task, but Alibaba is pinning its hopes on it simultaneous launch of a new smartphone, with a strong focus on “cloud application” apparently.

How this will match up with Apple’s iCloud offering is unclear at this stage.

The new phones will cost just over $309 when released and will ship with pre-installed mapping and instant messaging software, said a company spokesperson.

It is expected that Tianyu Telecommunications Equipment Co will manufacture the handsets, while US firm Nvidia will be tasked with producing the smartphone chips.

There is also reportedly talk of the development of tablets with the operating system, though little detail was given.

But Alibaba may have its work cut trying to establish itself in the crowded mobile OS market, with Nokia showing recently how tough it is.

Li Muzhi, an analyst with Mizuho Securities outlined some of the difficulties to AFP stating that it would be “challenging for the smaller operating systems to expand in a quite stable market at this moment”.

“If they (Alibaba) want to be successful, they have to make it an open platform and have some features that not only benefit the users but benefit the manufacturers.”

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