Alibaba looks set to give consumers a choice of phone-maker for its Aliyun mobile OS, with China’s Haier (SHA:600690; HKG:1169) due to unveil its own Aliyun phone on Wednesday, according to invitations sent out to us and other media.
Since the company launched its cloud-oriented software last summer, it has sold just over one million phones, all of them so far made by its initial hardware partner, Tianyu. The Wednesday unveiling will bring on board a bigger name phone brand, with the presumed hope that it will boost sales of the platform in its tough battle to get consumers away from Android or iOS. The specifications are now yet known - that will indicate whether Alibaba is going after the higher-end of the market, or perhaps aiming to push prices down in the manner of the recent Baidu-Changhong deal for Baidu’s Android-based mobile OS.
Haier has been moving into the smartphones and tablets space for just over a year while still making its huge array of home appliances (in the manner of, say, Samsung). Last year, we pinpointed Haier as one of six manufacturers who want to make your next smartphone.
We’ll update on Wednesday when we see the actual Aliyun OS-powered Haier smartphone revealed.