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Apple iOS, Google Android Face New Alternative: Alibaba Aliyun

Just when you thought you understood the smartphone mobile operating system market the rules may be set to change. As channel partners sort out Apple iOS 6, Google Android and Windows Phone 8 opportunities, along comes Aliyun, a Linux-based mobile operating system from Alibaba Group Holding. True believers include Acer, which will sell smartphones running Aliyun. But should channel partners take note? Yes and no. Here's why. On the upside for Aliyun:

The VAR Guy

September 13, 2012

1 Min Read
Apple iOS, Google Android Face New Alternative: Alibaba Aliyun

Just when you thought you understood the smartphone mobile operating system market the rules may be set to change. As channel partners sort out Apple iOS 6, Google Android and Windows Phone 8 opportunities, along comes Aliyun, a Linux-based mobile operating system from Alibaba Group Holding. True believers include Acer, which will sell smartphones running Aliyun. But should channel partners take note?

Yes and no. Here’s why.

On the upside for Aliyun:

  • Aliyun hopes to become the “Android of China.” U.S.-based channel partners may not care today but if Aliyun catches on in China you can bet international smartphone makers will take note.

  • Aliyun apps run up in the cloud, rather than locally on the smart phone — a model that could disrupt the current on-device App craze.

  • Some smartphone vendors and customers are concerned about the potential Apple iOS vs Google Android patent battle. Already, Apple has won a big patent decision against Samsung, which raises question marks about how Android-based smartphones and tablets could be impacted over the long haul.

On the downside for Aliyun:

  • iPhone 5 and Android seem like a duopoly in the smart phone market, apparently pummeling tier-two operating systems with ease.

  • Despite the cloud app device, Aliyun could have trouble attracting developers to its business model.

  • Aliyun needs North America device makers and carriers to back devices running the operating system. Near term, that seems unlikely.

  • Mobile Device Management (MDM) software providers already have their hands full supporting iOS 6, Android, Windows Phone 8 and RIM BlackBerry.

Overall, The VAR Guy thinks the smartphone market is saturated with operating system options. Aliyun will need some magic — and some luck — to penetrate the North America market and attract partners.

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