The New Chinese Cloud OS

The New Chinese Cloud OS

While the bulk of cloud computing coverage, here and elsewhere, deals with news and events in the US, there’s a whole wide world out there that has taken to cloud computing with a storm. Over the last few months, I have tried to include locations outside the US in my articles. You can read them at:

1. Is India The Next Cloud Computing Superpower?

2. The Chinese Dragon and Cloud Computing

3. Where Does Europe Stand On Cloud Computing?

4. UK Lags Behind Other European Nations in Adoption of Cloud Computing

5. How India Stands to Gain from Cloud Computing

6. Cloud Computing in the Middle East

7. Your Data in Australia is subject to the US Patriot Act

In these articles, I had postulated on the rise of China and India on the cloud computing stage. Big companies are already spending big money in China on cloud computing, but it now seems that domestic companies have also gotten into the act. Homegrown e-commerce firm Alibaba, through its subsidiary Alibaba Cloud Computing (AliCloud), has launched its cloud-based mobile operating system (OS) called Aliyun for handsets and tablets.

For those who are unaware of Alibaba other than the Arabian Knights reference, the company is the leading online business company in China, operating in B2B (business to business), B2C (business to consumer) and C2C (consumer to consumer). It claims 65 million-plus registered users in more than 240 countries and regions as of March 31, 2011. Over the last few years, it has made its presence felt in the US through its acquisition of e-commerce site Vendio Services Inc. and Auctiva, a leading third-party developer of tools for eBay sellers, in 2010. Additionally, it offers a range of business management software, Internet infrastructure services and export-related services.

The Android-compatible OS comes preloaded with 20 “Cloud apps” that access Alibaba company services over the Internet. The apps include Internet search, a barcode scanner to find products online and an app listing group-buying discounts. Alibaba plans to bring one new Cloud app to the OS each day. Users can seamlessly synchronize, store and back-up data such as contact information, call logs, text messages, notes and photos to AliCloud’s remote data center, and can also access and update this data across all their PC and mobile devices. Additionally, they each get 100 gigabytes of data storage for free, with the possibility of more storage in future.

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. “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 Internet technology such as HTML5 and JavaScript to reduce the complexity in the app development process.

Alibaba also unveiled the first device to run on the Aliyun OS, the K-Touch Cloud-Smart Phone W700 built in collaboration with Chinese handset manufacturer Tianyu and chip maker Nvidia. With the OS supporting development of third-part apps, Apple’s iPhone may face a credible challenger soon.

By Sourya Biswas

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