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Alibaba Prepping iPhone 5 Competitor

Chinese online retail giant Alibaba is set to debut its own smartphone brand which will be made by Chinese mobile handset vendor K-Touch and may be launched by the end of the month.

Ben Chang, writing for Chinese technology website Technode, says that the handset may go on sale as early as next month and will be powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 dual core SoC.

Surprisingly enough, the handset will run Android Froyo rather than Gingerbread. Rendered pictures of the handset, which has yet to be named, have been posted on Technode and show that the handset will have a large screen (3.5-inch or more), a five megapixel camera and a front facing one as well.

Alibaba will also, via its subsidiary Alicloud, bundle cloud-based search, cloud-based storage (up to 500GB), a mobile instant messaging client, a browser called Alibrowser and a number of other Alibaba-branded cloud-based services.

The phone is expected to cost around 3000 yuan or roughly £288 which is a tad too expensive for a Froyo handset but a great deal for a dual core smartphone. The cheapest dual core in the UK is the LG Optimus 2X which costs around £350.

Still it remains to be seen whether Alibaba may choose to offer it outside China; Alibaba is already present in the UK and in Europe.