Asian eCommerce Titan Aims for Mobile OS Glory in the Clouds

The Chinese-based eCommerce kings at Alibaba Group are reportedly building their very own smartphone operating system that could see the light of day before the close of 2011.

Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Alibaba’s mobile OS will make it possible for consumers to skip the often laborious app download process by allowing users to simply access their applications of choice via storage on large, remote servers. For obvious reasons, a cloud-based mobile OS of this nature could be very appealing in places like China, the most populous mobile community in the world.

If successful, Alibaba’s creation will square off in China with formidable mobile titans like Google’s Android operating system, Apple’s iPhone, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

The move also seems to mark a new direction for Alibaba Group, as the company has made software before but is best known for operating online-commerce websites.

Although little is known about the mobile OS being developed by Alibaba, there is no reason to believe that the offering will ultimately be contained to China or even Asia. The first version will, without question, heavily target the Chinese market, but there is “nothing that prevents it from being used elsewhere eventually,” one source confessed to the WSJ.

Details weren’t available on the pricing of the operating system and its apps, or on which handset makers will use the software. But the person said smartphone usage in China could broaden if Alibaba achieves its goals with the project.