Baidu, China’s version of Google, has announced today that it will be offering its own mobile OS based on Android. The new OS, called Baidu Yi, will fork off of a version of Android and will strip all Google apps and services to be replaced with ones branded under Baidu. The plans were announced today at the company’s annual Baidu World event in Beijing.
Along with the new Baidu Yi OS, the company revealed that it plans to deliver its own Maps service to compete with Google Places, an ebook reader similar to Apple’s iBooks, as well as a music player. Current Baidu apps that ship on Chinese Android devices will also be rolled into the new OS.
Baidu intends to compete directly against Google’s Android distribution in China, other Android variants, and the mobile OS from Alibaba that isn’t based on Android but aims to run Android apps.
Although we first reported back in March that Baidu had plans for its own mobile OS, the only details we had then was that it would be very lightweight with the main navigation feature being a Baidu search box. And now, Baidu has confirmed that the new OS will be an Android fork, but it’s still not clear which version of Android they will use to build Baidu.