China unveils COS to tackle Android 'monopoly'

20th Jan 2014 | 19:32

China unveils COS to tackle Android 'monopoly'

New government-run OS with beefed-up security

The Chinese government has unveiled a new operating system aimed at breaking the "foreign monopoly" of Microsoft's Windows, Google's Android and ChromeOS, and Apple's iOS and MacOS platforms.

The China Operating System or COS, is being jointly developed by the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai Alliance Tong Network Communications Technology in Beijing.

State-run Chinese newspaper The People's Daily cited security issues in Ubuntu and Android open source operating systems as a major reason for the emergence of COS. It claims that COS will have improved security, but no details were given. However, a picture on the COS website suggests it might come with built-in antivirus protection.

Aiming at Android

The newspaper states that only 380 million people in China had access to domestic 3G in 2013, and that many smart terminals, tablet computers and appliances use Android. Google's mobile operating system accounted for 66 per cent of the Chinese market in the first half of 2013, according to Chinese research firm Umeng.

COS won't just be for the smartphone and tablet market, however. It will also be aimed at PCs, smart terminals, set-top boxes and "other fields," suggesting China is hoping to dominate all sectors of its lucrative domestic market.

With COS, China is looking for "full autonomy and independence." It is likely that China distrusts the primarily US-based firms that rule the operating system market, fears that have probably been fuelled by the revelations of widespread NSA snooping.

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