Light Reading
After a hostile reception, the developer of China's homegrown device operating system answers its critics.

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
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.
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business – Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Facebook: 30% of Users Are Mobile-Only
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/24/2014
Is Windstream Boldly Setting a New Trend?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/29/2014
Nokia Holds Steady in Q2, Raises Outlook
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 7/24/2014
U-verse Growth Slips But Still Strong
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2014
Verizon Applies 3G Throttling Policy to LTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/25/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed