China's answer to Google, Baidu has Glass-style prototype in the works

Summary:Could Baidu eventually deliver a low-cost pair of networked specs to Chinese consumers?

Chinese search firm Baidu has confirmed it's working on a Google Glass-like prototype under the project name Baidu Eye, but it has no plans to commercialise it yet.

"Baidu Eye (just an internal project code name) is still just in internal testing," Baidu's director of international communications Kaiser Kuo told ZDNet by email.

"We've not made a decision about whether this will be productised and go to market," he said.

Baidu had no comment about the market potential in China for the device, or whether it has tested it with external developers yet.

China's largest search engine confirmed the project after Chinese media reported that it was working with US chipmaker Qualcomm on a device which it hoped would have a battery life of up to 12 hours.

The Baidu Eye device reportedly has a small LCD, voice control, image recognition and bone conduction, which is used in some hearing aids to transmit sound via bones in the skull.

The product, known as Baidu Eye, comes as the first of Google's $1500 Explorer Edition Glass are expected to roll off the assembly line

Like Google, the Chinese search company was a late entrant to mobile, launching its Android forked OS, Baidu Yi, in 2011. However, recently it has made strides with sub-$160 smartphones - an important category in the Chinese market and may also help align Baidu's search revenues with consumers' shift to mobile.

Baidu renamed Yi last May to Cloud Smart Terminal Platform with the launch the Changhong H5018 smartphone and in December, Lenovo released the LePhone A586 running Baidu's OS, with apps available from Baidu's Cloud Store. Dell also has a device running the OS.

Kuo told Reuters that "we experiment with every kind of technology that is related to search", which the company relies heavily on for revenue.  

In February, Baidu reported a slowdown in revenue growth with analysts noting increased competition from Qihoo and consumers' move away from Baidu's core revenue streams from desktop search to mobile.

Topics: Hardware, Android, China, Google, Mobile OS

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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