China launches its own OS

17 Jan 2014

In yet another attempt to stem the growing corporate influence of foreign companies in China, the country’s government has gotten behind its own OS for devices to break the dominance of Android and Google on its own turf.

Titled China Operating System (COS), the OS has been launched with the approval of the Chinese government just as Apple launches the iPhone on the country’s largest mobile network, China Mobile.

The Chinese government has always heavily emphasised a demand for control of information in the state and an influx of American phones through Apple is seen as a considerable threat.

COS is based off a Linux software developed in a partnership with Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS) with ‘oversight’ by the Chinese authorities.

Attempt at control

Heavy emphasis has been put on the regulation of what apps make it onto the COS market in what the Global Times, one of China’s most ardent media supporters and defenders says is a system marked by its safety. “It allows only one app store, the official one, so as to ensure that all applications are examined to be safe and non-pirated, compared with Android.”

However, it seems that if the figure of 100,000 apps available on launch is correct, the Chinese government is either quite lax in its security checks or perhaps it has been adapted from existing apps.

A number of news sites, like Engadget, have compared the first released pictures of the interface as being similar to Android. COS also features many functions, like content streaming, which have been in existence for a few years on existing systems.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic