Dell gets serious about China with Baidu deal

Dell is signaling that it is serious about tapping the lucrative Chinese market by clinching a deal with Baidu to jointly develop tablet computers and mobile phones.

Currently ranked China’s number one search engine, Baidu and the US-based Dell will attempt to claim market share from current industry heavyweights Apple and Lenovo.

Unsurprisingly, a number of analysts are skeptical that the partnership will pose a serious challenge to either corporation.

“I suspect this is just Dell, who has a lot of problems on the mobile and tablet front, grasping at straws to get any kind of publicity that it can to make its product more attractive,” Michael Clendenin, managing director of technology consultancy RedTech Advisors, told Reuters.

“Ultimately in China, I still think it is Apple’s game, still for the iPad and iPhone.”

But Sandy Shen, a research director with Gartner, said Dell really “had nothing to lose” by collaborating with Baidu in China.

“They don’t have a big mobile presence, so by partnering Baidu, they will probably get some momentum for their mobile products.”

According to Bloomberg, the phones will run Baidu’s recently unveiled Yi mobile platform, which is powered by a stripped down (forked) Android kernel.

Yi is being touted as a next-gen OS that offers users “more direct” access to the company’s services, including search, maps and an electronic reader. Yi also supports Android apps.