Lenovo releases Baidu-backed smartphone

PC maker announces the launch of 999 yuan (US$159) smartphone supported by Baidu's cloud platform.

Chinese hardware maker Lenovo and Internet company Baidu have partnered to launch the LePhone A586, which is supported by the latter's cloud platform.

A CNET China report Thursday said the two companies announced the availability of the phone in Hong Kong. The phone runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 MSM 8x25 processor and retails at 999 yuan (US$159) when bought through Lenovo's Web site.

The report noted Baidu previously partnered hardware maker such as Dell , Changhong, and TCL, to launch mobile phones. This is is the Internet company's first partnership with Lenovo.

According to the report, the smartphone does not run on Baidu's mobile operating system but is built on top of Google Android 4.0. The handset has various cloud-supported capabilities such as storage, voice search, music broadcasting, photo storage, data backup, and so on.

The phone also features voice verification , developed by Singapore-based Baidu-I2R Research Centre (BIRC), which allows users to unlock their phone using voice.

Lenovo was the No. 2 smartphone player in China in the quarter ended Jun. 30, 2012. Research firm Gartner predicted Lenovo would be the top smartphone player in China by next year .