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AliOS Operating System

In this article, you will learn about the Alios operating system with its history, architecture, features, advantages, and disadvantages.

What is Alios Operating System?

AliOS Operating System

AliOS is a Linux distribution that is designed and developed by Alibaba Cloud, a Mainland Chinese subsidiary of Alibaba Group. It was formerly used as a mobile operating system and is intended for smart automobiles and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

History of Alios Operating System

Alibaba Cloud confirmed the existence of its mobile OS, YunOS, on July 28, 2011. The system was defined as the culmination of three years of work. It is entirely compatible with Android-based applications since it utilizes Alibaba Cloud's self-developed distributed file system and virtual machine. The company's YunOS is challenging the dominating Android in China and aiming to expand into Western markets. In 2011, it was initially utilized in the K-Touch W700.

One million YunOS-powered cellphones had been sold as of May 2012. With 14% of the market, it was anticipated to overtake the first-place operating system in terms of sales in China by the end of 2016. On December 10, 2015, YunOS 5 Atom, a forked version of Android 6.0, became the most recent operating system version that was made accessible to the public.

The Alibaba Group decided to update its operating system strategy in October 2017 to concentrate investment on the expanding Internet of Things market. As part of the transition, Alibaba changed the name of its YunOS operating system to AliOS, an OS that provides OS solutions for automotive, industrial, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Simultaneously, Alibaba introduced AliOS Things, an open-source IoT edition of AliOS.

Overview of Alios Operating System

AliOS is based on the concept of delivering cloud capabilities to smart devices. AliOS will have cloud-based weather updates, e-mail, Web search, and GPS navigation as per the company. Furthermore, its services will synchronize and save call data, text messages, and photographs in the cloud so that they may be accessed from other devices, including PCs. At launch, Alibaba claimed it would provide clients with 100 GB of storage. AliOS users could access programs through the Web rather than downloading them on their devices. Furthermore, AliOS Things is a lightweight IoT embedded OS for the IoT market. It is suitable for all tiny loT devices and has many applications in smart cities, new travel, smart homes, and other industries.

Alios relations with Android

According to Google, AliOS is a derivative but incompatible version of Google's open-source Android OS. As a result, Google attempted to stop Acer Inc. from selling an AliOS-powered phone, claiming that Acer, a member of the Open Handset Alliance, had committed not to produce phones running incompatible Android OS versions. According to Andy Rubin, AliOS did not become part of the Android ecosystem and used runtimes, frameworks, and numerous tools from Android.

However, as of September 2012, the AliOS software store still carried various pirated Android apps, along with many from Google.

AliOS Things

AliOS Things is the Internet of Things version of AliOS that was launched and open-sourced in 2017. It is intended for low-power, resource-constrained MCUs and connectivity SoCs. AliOS Things is available in two variants, one based on the Linux kernel and one on Rhino, Alibaba's RTOS kernel.


In November 2015, hundreds of third-party apps installed by users on their own YunOS set-top boxes were promptly removed and prevented from re-installation under the Chinese State Administration of Press, Film, Publication, Radio, and Television regulations.

The architecture of the Alios Operating System

AliOS Things supports much architecture, such as MIPS, C-Sky, rx600, xtensa, rl78, ARM, and many boards.

AliOS Things adopts Layered Architecture and Component Architecture from an architectural standpoint. AliOS Things includes:


Its kernel contains Rhino RTOS Kernel, Yloop, VFS, and KV Storage.


Alibaba's high-value and widely used IoT components are included.

Protocol Stack

It contains uMesh mesh networking stack and LwIP TCPIP Stack.


The Board Support Package (BSP) is primarily designed and maintained by SoC Vendor.


AliOS Things made application and middleware APIs available.


It has various examples like hands-on sample codes and well-tested applications like Alinkapp.

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