Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba plans to roll out a new mobile phone OS, dubbed Aliyun OS, inside a phone and tablet for the Chinese market.
Aliyun was released in Chinese markets on July 28, 2011.
Alibaba’s operating system makes use of “cloud-based” services, including e-mail, Internet search, weather updates and GPS and mapping applications, the company said. The OS will apparently require users to be constantly connected to take advantage of its Web-based apps, instead of designing applications that can run natively on the
phone’s hardware. But, the company added, there will be some interoperability with the Android OS.
“Mobile users want a more open and convenient mobile OS, one that allows them to truly enjoy all that the Internet has to offer right in the palm of their hand, and the cloud OS, with its use of cloud-based applications, will provide that,” said Wang Jian, president of Alibaba Cloud Computing, in a statement.
“Introducing cloud apps to mobile devices not only brings a whole new user experience, but also greater ease for third-party mobile software developers who will be able to use
Alibaba said that each user would be given a free 100 Gigabytes of storage to back up data to AliCloud’s remote data center, which could be replicated to the PC and mobile devices.
Third-party developers can opt to either develop cloud apps over their own servers or choose to use AliCloud’s infrastructure and open platform services at a low cost and quickly develop their businesses, Alibaba said. “The cloud OS is the result of three
years of development and uses AliCloud’s self- developed distributed file system and virtual machine; the cloud OS is also fully compatible with Android-based. applications,” the company added.
According to Google , Aliyun is a forked but incompatible version of its open-source Android operating system. The company therefore attempted to prevent Acer Inc. from shipping an Aliyun-powered phone, arguing that Acer, a member of the Open Handset Alliance, had agreed not to produce phones running incompatible Android versions.
Andy Rubin , who at the time was in charge of the Android division at Google, stated that while Aliyun is not part of the Android ecosystem, it uses runtimes, framework and various tools from Android.
Alibaba disputes the claim that Aliyun is a version of Android by stating the following:
“Aliyun OS incorporates its own virtual machine, which is different from Android’s Dalvik virtual machine. Aliyun OS’ runtime
environment, which is the core of the OS, consists of both its own Java virtual machine, which is different from Android’s Dalvik virtual machine, and its own cloud app engine, which supports HTML5 web
applications. Aliyun OS uses some of the Android application framework and tools (open source) merely as a patch to allow Aliyun OS users to enjoy third-party apps in addition to the cloud-based Aliyun apps in our ecosystem.”
However, the Aliyun app store prominently features pirated Android applications, including many from Google.