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Baidu launches Android phone with eye on Windows Phone, iOS

The company is reportedly considering bringing its Cloud Smart Terminal platform to Windows Phone 7 and iOS too, though it's not clear how amenable Apple would be.

The Changhong H5018.
The Changhong H5018. Baidu

The Google of China, Baidu, today announced a new smartphone powered by its own cloud-based platform.

Dubbed the Changhong H5018, the smartphone runs on a forked version of Android that's powered by the Baidu Cloud Smart Terminal platform. The device was manufactured by Foxconn and will be released on China Unicom's network, according to the search company.

Baidu's Cloud Smart Terminal is the company's push for mobile market share. It allows users to access its many services, including search, applications, and cloud-based services from the device without needing to head onto the Web. According to Baidu, the offering also includes voice- and handwriting-recognition features. Most importantly, Baidu says it will provide all Changhong H5018 owners with 100GB of free storage through its cloud-based Netdrive offering.

On the hardware side, the device features a 3.5-inch touch screen, 3G connectivity, and a 3-megapixel camera.

Although the smartphone won't shine among high-powered alternatives, like Apple's iPhone, that doesn't appear to be Baidu's focus. In an interview published today with TechCrunch, Baidu spokesperson Kaiser Kuo says that the company is looking to bring its cloud platform to Apple's iOS and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.

"We want Baidu's Cloud Smart Terminal to function as a platform that sits on top of all operating systems, such as Windows Phone and iOS," Kuo said. "We are not yet working on a Windows Phone device but the hope is to make one."

It's not immediately clear how Baidu will go about building its platform atop iOS, and it's quite likely Apple might take issue with it if it did so. Without mentioning Apple, Kuo told TechCrunch that Baidu doesn't want to leave any stone unturned with its mobile cloud push, but "some stones are proving to be more recalcitrant than others." Could that proverbial stone be Apple?