Chinese search engine and autonomous driving company Baidu confirmed with KrASIA that it released a “cloud phone” for consumers on Monday, which would extend its cloud computing services beyond the traditional enterprise market. Android users in China can download a cloud phone app to play mainstream high-end games stored on Baidu’s cloud servers, rather than their own devices.
This cloud phone allows users to have a virtual phone on top of their original device, catering to consumers who do not want to replace their mobile but would like to play larger games, which often require specific configurations. Baidu priced the service at RMB 4 (USD 0.6) per day, RMB 77 (USD 11.5) per month, and RMB 496 (USD 74) per year.
Cloud phones are still a new thing in China, with several startups and few tech giants dabbling in the sector. Baidu started to develop cloud phones as early as 2015, rolled out its enterprise-version in April this year, and acquired cloud phone startup Redfinger in June. It announced a RMB 2 billion (nearly USD 300 million) plan for a cloud phone industrial project located in Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan province, in July.
Huawei, China’s largest phone maker, launched a cloud phone for enterprises in March, according to IThome. Alibaba is also expanding the business releasing a palm-sized cloud computer in September, KrASIA reported. It allows users to access almost unlimited computing resources anytime, anywhere by connecting the device to a normal screen and paying either a subscription fee or based on consumption.
In the USD 4.3 billion cloud infrastructure enterprise market in China, Baidu took an 8% share in the second quarter of this year, lagging behind Alibaba at 40.1%, Huawei with 15.5%, and Tencent with a 15.1% share, according to data released by Canalys in September.