Google may well be the most used search engine in Europe and the US, but as it turns out, the Mountain View-based giant is just a minor player in China (the biggest market of them all), accounting for just 14.7% of the search market. When it comes to Google’s mobile OS however, statistics change all of a sudden, and show Android accounting for north of 68% of the Chinese mobile-OS market during Q4 2011.
It’s in this context that Baidu, the leader in China’s search market (with 79% of Chinese searches) has released a custom ROM for Android that swaps Google and most of its services for Baidu's own search engine and a bunch of other cloud based services, that are very similar to Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Play and such.
Ambitious as it may sound, this custom Android ROM is just the tip of the iceberg as Baidu is also planning to release a cloud-based mobile OS running on a forked version of Android. In fact, Baidu has announced that their attack will not end here, as it’s likely that they will be targeting other mobile operating systems such as Apple’s iOS or Microsoft’s Windows Phone.
The Baidu custom Android ROM is currently available only for the Google Nexus S, but availability for “selected” Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones over the following weeks is mentioned on the official webpage. Currently, the Baidu custom ROM cannot be installed directly, and needs to be sideloaded from a PC by using an USB connection.
What do you guys make of the Baidu custom Android ROM? Let us know in the comment section below!