Baidu is looking to unseat Google in more ways than one. We reported a few days ago about the rumor that Baidu is working on its own open source mobile OS to rival Android, and new reports out today suggest the company is working to get its search engine placed on Android devices as well.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting the company is in talks with mobile handset makers that use Android software about embedding a Baidu search box on their phones that are destined for the Chinese market. The company is in similar talks with makers of other mobile operating systems and handsets that run their software, said Chief Executive Robin Li. Baidu’s goal is to have “a search box very prominently on the phone’s screen.” Though he declined to name any companies, he did mention that “we are talking to quite a few big names.”
Android phones made up a tiny 0.4% of the 7.25 million smartphones sold in China during the last three months of 2009, according to Beijing-based technology research firm Analysys International. In a vast departure from the North American market, Symbian-powered phones made up 72.1% of the smartphones sold in China during the fourth quarter of last year. The Symbian Foundation announced recently it would set up a joint lab along with Baidu to help integrate Baidu search functions onto Symbian.