Internet users in India may not be familiar with Baidu, but it is one of the most popular search engines in the world with a China-centric audience. Now, if a report by The Next Web is anything to go by, then it appears that Baidu is looking to take on Google in more than just the Internet search space, but also in the smartphone arena by building a custom ROM that replaces the entire Google suite of applications with their own.

The report states, “Baidu unveiled its new smartphone push earlier this month, when it announced details of an Android-based cloud-centric operating system, ‘Baidu Cloud’, but it is now in the market to ‘take-over’ active Android phones in China. That’s a huge base of devices, as Android accounted for 68.4 percent of new smartphone sales in China during the final quarter of 2011.”

Baidu releases custom ROM for Nexus S

Baidu releases custom ROM for Nexus S

As of now, the ROM is available only for the Nexus S and is expected to be available to other Ice Cream Sandwich running handsets in the future. The report elaborates the capabilities of the ROM by stating, “The ROM has been built to accompany Baidu’s cloud services push, and it allows mobile owners to fully ‘Baiduize’ their phone, giving them a “richer, more social, more personalized experience”. The ROM provides access to a range of the Web giant’s services, which include Google-Drive like Wangpan, music, maps, apps and new photo album site Baidu Xiangce.”

To download this ROM, one will need to first download it to a PC and then load it on to a smartphone using a USB connection. The updates will take place every two weeks and changes will be dished out by the way of over the air updates to existing users.

The report goes on to state, “Baidu hinted that it would expand its smartphone focus beyond the ‘forked’ Baidu Cloud release, perhaps even targeting iOS and Windows Phone, and the release of this ROM demonstrates the aggressive approach that the Web giant is adopting. Apple is tipped to soon add Baidu’s search services to its iOS operating system. It’s a move that may affect the use of Google’s services on the iPhone and iPad in China.”

Let us know your thoughts on Baidu releasing a custom ROM for the Nexus S in the comments section below.

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