Chinese web giant Baidu working on its own Android-based smartphone

April 21, 2012
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Dell Streak Pro D43

What do you get when you combine Baidu and Foxconn? If rumors are to be believed, the two Chinese tech powerhouses are planning to collaborate on making an entry level smartphone targeted at the local market. The Baidu-branded phone is expected to have a 3.5-inch touchscreen, high-res camera and a 1400mAh battery. Not the kind of specs that would get our tech juices flowing, but for a predicted price of $159 (or about 1000 RMB), it might become a hit in the mainland.

Baidu, naturally, will take care of the software side of things. The phone will run Baidu’s Yi, a mobile operating system based on Android platform, minus Google’s core apps. Things like the app store, search engine, and instant messenger have been replaced with Baidu’s own apps and services. Foxconn will be responsible for manufacturing the phone.

If this report is true, this won’t be Baidu’s first foray into the smartphone world. Back in September 2011, Baidu announced that it was partnering with Dell to bring out the Streak Pro D43 smartphone. This was more of a high-end affair though, considering the phone’s 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus qHD display. The phone failed to take off due, probably due to its $477 (2,999 RMB) price tag.

In case you didn’t know, Baidu is China’s number one search engine, which also happens to offer a wide range of internet services: Baidu Maps, News, Image Search, Search Ranking, Web Directory, and more. Sound a lot like Google, eh? Foxconn has been on the news a lot lately due to its closely guarded relationship with Apple in producing the iPhone and iPad, but the Chinese company does have an impressive resume in manufacturing  devices for Sony, Amazon, Toshiba and many others.

Does this sound like a match made in heaven to you?

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