Most of HTC’s smartphones run Google’s Android or Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. But it looks like the company may be planning to hedge its bets by developing its own smartphone operating system.
The Wall Street Journal reports that HTC is developing a mobile OS designed specifically for phones that will be sold in China… although it’s not clear if this is an entirely new operating system or if it’s based on existing software such as Android.
The software reportedly features integration with micro-blogging service Weibo and other Chinese apps and services. But it’s not like you couldn’t access those services using an Android phone.
According to the WSJ, another goal of the project is to play nice with the Chinese government that wants to reduce dependence on companies from the West such as Google and Apple.
HTC would hardly the first big company to think outside the Android box. Retail giant Alibaba has developed its own mobile operating system called Aliyun, and Korean device maker Samsung is expected to release its first phones running the Tizen operating system later this year.
While it makes sense for HTC to court the growing Chinese market as a way to make up for declining market share in other countries, what’s less clear is whether developing a China-specific operating system will actually help sell phones in China.
At the same time, HTC has kind of been making its own version of Android for years by loading its HTC Sense user interface on top of Google’s mobile operating system. Porting Sense to another platform could be an easy way to offer phones that look and work much like other HTC handsets, but which offer tighter integration with Chinese social media and video services and less reliance on Google services like the Play Store and YouTube.
via The Verge