Chinese search engine and Internet security provider Qihoo has launched a new mobile OS to expand its presence in the smartphone market. The move comes just a few months after Qihoo agreed to invest $409 million in a joint venture with Coolpad to make smartphones. With its new 360 OS, Qihoo went after Xiaomi. It has put up a new website for its upcoming smartphone and OS.
Qihoo has experience in security and software
The tagline of 360 OS reads, “An OS that might be better for Xiaomi phones than MIUI.” Xiaomi uses MIUI, a forked version of Android, in its devices. The Beijing-based Internet security firm didn’t provide many details about the OS, except that it will be “based on Android.” Qihoo’s forthcoming smartphone is codenamed ‘AK47.’
Qihoo’s newly launched site will also have a discussion forum to allow customers to offer their inputs on the creation of 360 OS and AK47. Given the company’s extensive expertise in software and Internet security, its new OS is likely to put more emphasis on these aspects. Qihoo chairman Zhou Hongyi recently said that the partnership with Coolpad was aimed at building “one of the leading mobile Internet ecosystems in China.”
Qihoo’s phone to be the ‘best on the market’
Qihoo already has an Android app store called 360 Mobile Assistant, which is by far the most popular app store in the country. Last month, Coolpad CFO Jiang Chao told Bloomberg that the joint venture will help it boost its smartphone sales from 45 million in 2014 to 60 million this year. In contrast, Xiaomi is expected to ship more than 100 million smartphones in 2015.
At its recent quarterly earnings call, Qihoo CEO Zhou Hongyi said he believed the company’s smartphones will be the “best on the market.” Going after well-established rivals in a new market is nothing new for Qihoo. In 2012, the company launched a new search engine to take on Baidu. Since then, Baidu’s market share has come down by 10%, while Qihoo boasts of 16% share in the Chinese search market.