China’s biggest search engine has buddied up with chip-maker Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) to offer extra free cloud storage to people who buy certain Android-based, Qualcomm-powered smartphones. It’ll see Baidu’s (NASDAQ:BIDU) new Dropbox-like service, called WangPan, offering those new phone-owners double the usual cloud storage space.
The deal covers phones sold in China that are powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8×25 and 8x25Q chips. For people who don’t give a crap about what chips are inside their phones, it just means they’ll get more free cloud storage if they buy phones or tablets like the Huawei G330D/G330C (Ascend), Coolpad 7266, the K-touch W760, Hisense U950, or Lenovo S686. Not a hugely sexy list of hardware, but we noted last week that domestic brands now make up 60 percent of the China smartphone market – the top three are the afore-mentioned Lenovo, CoolPad, and Huawei – so this Baidu-Qualcomm deal has the potential to reach a lot of people.
How much extra storage is it worth? New phone buyers will get double the usual 15GB of Baidu Wangpan storage for free – a useful 30GB – for the duration of the phone’s lifespan.
Baidu spokesperson Kaiser Kuo explains that the Huawei Ascend model (pictured above) is particularly significant:
The Huawei G330D, which uses the Snapdragon MSM 8225 processor, is the first flagship dual-core device among the customized smartphone series issued by China Unicom.
Indeed, China Unicom – the second-largest telco in terms of 3G subscribers – is pushing that Huawei model hard these days, selling it for just 1,399 RMB (US$222). The tweaked Android 4.0 in that phone has had its Google search replaced with Baidu’s, as you can also spot in the photo up top.
As for the newer of those two Qualcomm chips, Baidu’s communications director adds: “The [Snapdragon] 8x25Q is a new processor announced only at the end of September, so there are no commercial devices yet.”
This partnership indicates also how seriously Qualcomm is taking the China market these days, where some experts reckon there could be as many as 500 million smartphones by the end of next year. A great many of those will be running Android, and will be low- to mid-range devices that cost less than $2,000 RMB ($319).