Yesterday, the Chinese language tech blogs were abuzz with rumors that Alibaba was near to announcing a new flagship device that will ship before the Chinese New Year. If all the rumors are true, then this new device will be manufactured by LePhone, run Alibaba’s Aliyun OS on a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor, have a 4.5″ screen, and sell for an impressively low 700RMB!
Several months ago, Alibaba was forced to cancel the launch of their first Aliyun device (then manufactured by Acer), due to pressure from Google that essentially blocked Open Handset Alliance members from using the Aliyun OS. For those of you who haven’t been keeping score, Aliyun is a highly customized version of Android that has had all “Googleness” unceremoniously yanked out of it while simultaneous linking all the adverting and potential revenue sources back to Alibaba. While Acer and
Alibaba took offense at Google’s interference, and rattled their saber about Google’s anti-competitive business practices, the move on Google’s seems fairly reasonable and well balanced. In this case, Google reminded Acer that as an OHA members they were not permitted to participate in Android based project that don’t benefit the Android ecosystem for the benefit of all the OHA members.
Back on September 16th, 2012 Andy Rubins posted:
We agree that the Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem and you’re under no requirement to be compatible.
However, the fact is, Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools. And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps). So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.
So if you want to benefit from the Android ecosystem, then make the choice to be compatible. Its easy, free, and we’ll even help you out. But if you don’t want to be compatible, then don’t expect help from OHA members that are all working to support and build a unified Android ecosystem.
Apparently since LePhone isn’t a member of the OHA, Google doesn’t have any objections this time around. But it doesn’t bode well for wide acceptance of Aliyun though, since nearly all tier-A smartphone manufactures are members of OHA.
Regardless of the OS controversy, we’re rather excited to get a peek at this 700RMB marvel, and with the Chinese New Year a few weeks away, we won’t have long to wait until we see which parts of the rumors are true.