Light Reading

China's Latest Homegrown Flop

Robert Clark
News Analysis
Robert Clark
1/29/2014
50%
50%

As China believes it can manufacture a global pop star to challenge the likes of Rihanna and Beyonce, it should come as no surprise that it has also developed a device operating system that, it hopes, can challenge Android and iOS.

But the release of the government-backed COS (China Operating System) hasn't exactly gone to plan.

The cross-platform OS has come in for such a public mauling that the state press has had to come to its defense.

Newspapers and social media have queried the similarities between COS and an implementation of Android by High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), as well as the number of apps available and the level of government support.

Official Communist Party mouthpiece, People's Daily, has published a Q&A article answering what it called "seven major suspicions" concerning the COS.

The responses were attributed to software firm Shanghai Liantong, a spin-off government software research institute ISCAS. The company says the two organizations jointly developed COS without any external input.

However, the Wall Street Journal said it had learned that HTC engineers had been deeply involved in the project. It had previously reported, in August 2013, that HTC had been developing an operating system for Chinese consumers.

In response to criticisms over COS's similarity to the HTC offering, Shanghai Liantong said it had had "exchanges" with a number of handset firms, including Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Lenovo Group Ltd. (Hong Kong: 992), and HTC. It said some vendors had adapted their hardware platforms to COS, though it did not name them.

The company said an inventory of more than 100,000 apps had been enabled by the deployment of a Java Virtual Machine, which allows Java apps to run on COS.

It also said that while it had been set up in 2012 by ISCAS and other investors, it had not received state research funds.

The company's ambition is for COS to be used as a platform in mobile devices, PCs and set-top boxes, "depending on national strategic needs and market needs."

But the hostile reception shows that as well as battling to displace existing platforms, such as Windows, Android and iOS, it has to win over the Chinese general public, which is often impatient with grand government schemes.

Previous flops
Its plight recalls previous government initiatives, such as the computer web filter Green Dam, which crashed and burned within weeks of announcement, and the wireless security standard WAPI, which the government tried to make mandatory on all wireless equipment.

The biggest of all of these was TD-SCDMA, the 3G standard created with the aim of avoiding foreign patent fees and for which the development cost was foisted on China Mobile Ltd. subscribers.

COS is being offered as a secure alternative to foreign operating systems in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Yet even with official imprimatur it has yet to win a single government agency or handset vendor, even as a trial partner.

Government-backed pop stars might fare better.

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
R Clark
50%
50%
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
1/30/2014 | 1:50:29 AM
Re: Not-so-ancient wisdom
Sarah, you're not the only one to have missed out on the legend of Ruhan Jia:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25910722

Interesting parallel with tennis player Li Na, who's become the oldest woman to win the Australian Open. She was allowed to exit the state system six years ago, and since has won two Grand Slams. A lot of chatter in China about how successful she would have been if she'd gone solo earlier. 

The chatter about COS is much more scathing - a lot of people just calling it a direct copy. It is odd that they went to market without any partners or trials to speak of. Amateur hour.

 

 
tb100
50%
50%
tb100,
User Rank: Moderator
1/29/2014 | 3:45:26 PM
COS
I've heard that COS stands for Copy Other System. If it is an Android knock off, or even if it just uses some pieces from Android, it is open source, so that's not such a big deal. That's what Amazon does with their Kindle Fire. But if HTC is involved, I wonder if they would get in trouble with Google.

It reminds me of Red Flag Linux, China's official Linux that is an offshoot of Red Hat.  
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
1/29/2014 | 12:43:15 PM
Re: Not-so-ancient wisdom
I do think alternative OSs have an opportunity to make an impact in markets like China, but, um, not this government-backed one. Strange.

In other news, tell me more about these Beyonce-challenging pop stars.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/29/2014 | 9:44:44 AM
Not-so-ancient wisdom
If you ain't floppin, you ain't tryin.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
Between the CEOs
Affirmed Networks CEO: Digging Into NFV

5|28|15   |   40:26   |   (2) comments


Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Will Carriers Follow Facebook's Networking Lead?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/28/2015
Charter Plans Business Services, Wireless Push
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/27/2015
Facebook Reinvents Data Center Networking
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 1 PM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
Hassan Ahmed, CEO of Affirmed Networks, is making some big claims for his NFV startup. I sat down with him at the Light Reading HQ in New York City to get the skinny on what this Acton, Mass.-based startup is up to.
Cats with Phones