China’s biggest search engine, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) is pushing forward its mobile OS even more with the launch today of a new phone carrying the Android-based system. Made by Chinese manufacturer TCL (HKG:1070; SHE:000100), which is perhaps best-known for its TV sets, it bears the very uninspiring name TCL S710. Thankfully the phone has more punch than its moniker as the TCL S710 marks the first time Baidu’s OS has been updated to Android 4.0, and is powered along by a 1GHz dual-core (unnamed) processor.
A Baidu representative explained to us that the company has dropped the “Baidu Yi” name for its mobile software – in fact since its previous appearance on a budget smartphone back in May – and is instead calling it “Baidu Cloud.” Probably a good idea, since “Yi” was rather vague, and the cloud imagery alludes to its array of apps, all of which come pre-installed, such as Baidu Ting for music-streaming, or its new Dropbox-like cloud file storage service.
The TCL S710 is Baidu’s third phone. The first was made by Dell and launched in December of last year.
Baidu wouldn’t comment on the hardware itself, leaving the launch to TCL. But among other specs on the S710 is a 4.3-inch screen and an 8MP camera. It’s a WCDMA phone, so it’ll run only on China Unicom’s (NYSE:CHU; HKG:0762) 3G network for those who want data plans.
No price has yet been set, but it’ll have to be well below 2,000 RMB with such middling specs. One rival for the money of young smartphone converts is the popular Xiaomi phone, which gets a second-coming in stores in October when the quad-core Xiaomi Mi2 finally ships. That’ll cost only 1,999 RMB ($315).
[Photos: Enet - article in Chinese]