Aliyun OS

The folks behind e-commerce site Alibaba have announced plans to launch an operating system called Aliyun OS designed for mobile devices including phones and tablets. The new OS will hit China by the end of the month. One of the first devices to run the operating system will be the K-Touch smartphone from device maker Tianyu.

Aliyun OS is based on Android, but it’s designed to run web apps using HTML5, JavaScript and other web-based technologies rather than native apps. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s very similar to the approach Apple took when first launching the iPhone. But it wasn’t long before it became clear that the iPhone was a big paperweight if you didn’t have an active internet connection and Apple launched software developer tools to enable third party apps. The App Store was born, and the rest is history.

Alibaba isn’t the only company banking on web apps though. Mozilla, the makers of the popular Firefox web browser, recently announced a project called Boot To Gecko which is also designed first and foremost to run web apps.

What’s changed in the last few years is that web programming languages such as HTML5 now support a range of features including the ability to cache data to a device or even access your phone or tablet’s GPS, camera, or other hardware.

Alibaba says Aliyun users will get 100GB of cloud-based storage for data including call logs, text messages, photos, and other media.

Developers writing web apps for Aliyun OS will be able to host apps on their own web servers or use Alibaba’s AliCloud distribution service.

It’s not yet clear if or when the operating system will be available outside of China.

The first images of the new operating system were leaked by a Chinese website earlier this month after rumors about the new operating system started making the rounds in early July.

via Penn Olson

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing.He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

One reply on “Meet Aliyun, the new mobile OS from Alibaba”

  1. Seems that Alibaba’s becoming a bit of a force of nature. They’re already pretty synonymous with international trade and suppliers and it wouldn’t surprise me if they became a big name in other areas too. This seems to be a sensible move especially with the rise of smart phones. At the risk of sounding like I’m doddering around with a walking stick, I remember when mobile phones made and received calls and that was it. I even *gasp* remember when it was a rarity that you saw someone with a mobile phone. Now everyone and their dog has one and the phone’ll do the dishes for you if you ask it nicely.

    And having the internet on your phone doesn’t mean that it’ll cost you the Earth to view a couple of low-quality sites any more. People expect to be get a lot of things done on their mobile phones now. Alibaba’s smart to get in on that.

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