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Dell and Baidu to develop smartphone

Companies hope to make dent in China’s massive smartphone market

Dell and Baidu to develop smartphone
Dell has partnered with China's largest search engine, Baidu, to develop Android-based smartphones.

Dell is launching a new smartphone with China's largest search engine, Baidu, the move could help both companies to tap into the country's growing smartphone market.

Dell has not yet released details of the phone or the launch date.

Baidu launched a suite of Android-based tools called Yi, just days before the partnership announcement. The tools are designed to help developers create mobile apps which are integrated with Baidu's existing products, including the company's music, e-reading and mapping services.

On Friday, Baidu's CEO Robin Li allegedly told Chinese media that the company had reached an agreement with an international handset to launch a phone featuring the Yi platform, although Baidu spokesman Kaiser Kuo, denied this.

Baidu controls 80% share of all user internet searches in China, according to CNZZ.com, an analytical web research site.

The Baidu search engine is also installed in a number of mobile phones, with the company claiming in April that it was featured on 80% of China's Android phones. "Currently in China, all the top internet firms are trying to expand into the mobile Internet market," said Shen Sui, an analyst with consultancy group iResearch. "They all want to solidify their place and grow their market share."

Dell sold its first smartphone in 2009 in China and Brazil; the device ran a modified version of the Android operating system.

China has over 900 million smartphone users, making it the largest market in the world, according to government statistics.

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