If Google’s Android mobile operating system would take home the gold medal for the most amount of users in the world, and Apple’s iOS would claim the silver, which one would come third? If you’re in China, and listen to ecommerce giant Alibaba, then it’s YunOS taking the bronze. YunOS is the company’s own mobile operating system, based on the open source version of Android, and it’s installed on the latest phone from Meizu, called the M3E.
Alibaba has previously said the operating system is used by 40 million people around the world, and that at one time, was expected to surpass iOS in terms of popularity in China. According to Kantar Worldpanel, though, this hasn’t happened yet, and in data released back in February, iOS was still way out in front with a 22 percent share of the market, and even Microsoft’s Windows platform gathered 0.9 percent to keep it in third. Alibaba’s YunOS presumably lingered in the “other” category fighting over 0.4 percent share.
Related: Read our review of the Meizu M3 Note
How about the Meizu M3E itself? First off, it looks like it’ll be Star Trek themed. Taking a page out of Samsung’s book, which has previously released limited edition Batman and Iron Man versions of its flagship phones, leaked images of the M3E show off the Star Fleet insignia emblazoned on the smartphone’s backside.
From a technical perspective, it’s a step up from the Android-powered M3s announced a short while ago. The screen size is 5.5 inches and has a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, while a 1.8GHz quad-core MediaTek P10 processor with 3GB of RAM provides all the power. A fingerprint sensor is inside the home button below the display, and the body is made from metal with a 2.5D glass panel on the front. Additional features include 32GB of storage, a hybrid SIM tray with space for a MicroSD card, and a pair of cameras — a 13-megapixel on the rear, and a 5-megapixel on the front. Alibaba’s YunOS is covered by the same Flyme user interface seen on other Meizu phones.
Although Alibaba once said it would launch YunOS internationally, that has never happened, but the company has continued to sign partnerships with manufacturers and component suppliers in China. However, Alibaba’s plans for YunOS are far larger than just installing it on phones. It has recently shown off an internet connected car that uses YunOS, which is already on sale in China. The Meizu M3E is unlikely to be sold outside China, where it hits shelves on August 14 for around $195.
Updated on 8-30-2016 by Lulu Chang: Added report of Star Trek-themed handset