Alibaba has announced that its Aliyun OS phones have surpassed the one million sales milestone, almost exactly 10 months after its launch last summer. The custom-made, Linux-based mobile operating system – which can also run Android apps via virtualization – was conceived as a cloud-oriented system that would allow app developers to create cloud apps that are instantly update-able in the manner of a web app. It launched initially only with the Tianyu K-Touch W700 hardware, which got refreshed as the W800 (pictured above; priced at 1,499 RMB) earlier this year in-line with v2.0 of Aliyun.
The one million in sales was reported by Sohu IT earlier today. Though it’s a major milestone for a Chinese-made OS, the figure lags far behind the local-brand Xiaomi phones, which sold several million in the first six months. But making hardware around Android (as Xiaomi does) is not too tough compared to creating your own ecosystem, which is what the e-commerce giant opted to do with Aliyun.
Indeed, the unappealing Tianyu brand might be the software’s biggest shortcoming, struggling to appeal to label-conscious consumers against a lot of cooler devices from the likes of Xiaomi, HTC, and Samsung. The battle was made tougher recently when search giant Baidu released its cloud-oriented budget smartphone for a mere 1,000 RMB (US$158). That looks set to change next month, as we’ve heard that Aliyun will finally slip inside some different manufacturer’s handsets, though we’re not sure which one/ones that might be. But a greater choice of phones has got to be a good thing.