Alibaba Group’s cloud-computing unit will supply the latest version of its mobile operating system for the flagship smartphone made by rising Chinese mobile-phone manufacturer Meizu.
The Meizu MX4 smartphone running Alibaba Cloud Computing’s YunOS 3.0 will be released on Nov. 11, the same day as Alibaba’s giant 11.11 Shopping Festival, according to an announcement from AliCloud.
The adoption of Yun OS appears to be a boost for Alibaba Cloud Computing, which has struggled to gain ground on entrenched foreign mobile OS providers since the Alibaba system debuted in 2011. While not in the same league as Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Lenovo and Huawei, Meizu has made several hit phones and is considered by observers to be one of China’s better-known brands. The company positions itself as producing high-end smartphones at affordable prices.
On Monday, Royal Philips announced it will also launch a smartphone using YunOS 3.0, bringing the total number of brands that have adopted all versions of the software to more than 34, according to AliCloud.
YunOS differs from other operating systems in that its users don’t need to download and store apps and content on their phones; they instead access personal information and run programs, which are stored on remote network servers, via the cloud.
The biggest change in YunOS 3.0, which was released on Monday, is the introduction of something AliCloud is calling Cloud Card, a feature that allows users to search for and purchase a variety of services, such as movie passes, without a dedicated app. Cloud Card will also use big-data analysis to offer suggestions to users based on their consumption habits and synchronize information across a user’s various cloud apps. For example, when a user buys a movie ticket on Cloud Card, information about the theater’s location will be generated and stored on the maps cloud app. If the user arrives early to the theater, the Cloud Card will automatically suggest dining and shopping options nearby.
Cloud Card is designed to make searching for services more intuitive, said Zhang Chunhui, senior director at AliCloud. “Cloud Card will try to mimic human thought,” Zhang said in a press release. “It aims to anticipate a user’s thoughts to become an effective assistant.”
Last week, AliCloud announced that Quixey, a U.S. based mobile app search start up, will start providing deep-linking technology within the YunOS. This means that users can use concepts and broad keywords, rather than exact keywords, to search for apps and services. Quixey displays information related to those keywords and services from all related apps. Last year, Alibaba Group led an investment round in Quixey.
YunOS has been adapted to smartTVs and set-top boxes, and there are plans to roll out the operating system in cars. Alibaba Group said it will continue to invest in the field of mobile operating systems, to better integrate it with of cloud computing and big data with the aim of creating a globally competitive smartphone operating system.