Baidu, a China-based web service provider, has unveiled a new ROM that will replace Google’s services on Android smartphones.
Previously, the company had relied on Google for some services such as its search engine and cloud services. Now, with the new ROM, Baidu offers services similar to Google’s, giving users a more personalized and complete Baidu experience on their mobile devices. For instance, there now is the Baidu Wangpan, a file storage service on the cloud similar to Google Drive. There is also Baidu Xiangce, Baidu’s own photo album service. There are now also Baidu-branded services for maps, music, news, search ranking, web directory, and image search, among others.
It bears noting that Baidu is presently China’s number one search engine, getting 79% of searches in such area. Meanwhile, Google, which leads everywhere else on the globe, gets only 14.7%.
It is thus not surprising that Baidu should have great ambitions. In fact, the customized Android ROM, however, is not the only thing that Baidu has prepared. Also in the works over at Baidu is the company’s own mobile OS based on Android. In its plan to dominate the mobile scene, Baidu is even considering creating custom operating systems based on iOS or Windows.
Currently, however, the company is focusing its efforts on the custom ROM, which is exclusively available for the Google Nexus S. Nonetheless, it will also be made available for selected smartphones running on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the succeeding weeks.
The custom Baidu ROM is available for download through the company’s official website. Interested users should be warned, however, that installation is not as easy as downloading the ROM directly onto a device. Instead, users may sideload it through a USB connection from a computer. It helps if one knows Mandarin and has experience in sideloading. Otherwise, installing it might be better left to experts.