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China Unveils Android-like “COS” Operating System to Compete With Android, iOS Duopoly

January 16, 2014 - Written By Tom Dawson

Some time ago, we heard rumors that HTC was working with the Chinese government to create a new operating system for mobile devices. Now, the fruit of such labors has been officially unveiled in China, dubbed simply COS (which imaginatively stands for China Operating System) it’s aimed to compete with the duopoly of iOS and Android that run on the vast majority of smartphones and tablets that are sold in China. Well, COS has a lot in common with Android at least and, in the little footage of the new platform we’ve seen, HTC’s influence is evident. Chinese company Shanghai Liantong worked together with ISCAS (Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the government to bring the whole project together. The end result however, seems more of a “me too” than it does a revolution.

COS1

 

Engadget China has gotten their hands on a promo demo of COS, and it can be seen running on various different devices. Such as TVs, set-top boxes, tablets and of course smartphones. On the smartphone front, COS was seen running on an HTC Butterfly S (as seen above) as well as an HTC One. While there’s no official word on whether or not HTC had direct involvement with the project, COS has a remarkable resemblance to Sense 5 as found on the HTC One and similar devices. Still, the OS acts very much like Android and it appears that Android apps will be able to run on the platform, which is hardly surprising as it’s Linux-based as well.

COS is still extremely new so, there’s no telling just how this is going to effect Android in China or indeed, Chinese manufacturers such as Oppo and Xiaomi that use Android to great affect. It’s not as if Chinese companies haven’t already leveraged Android to create their own original experiences, either. The MIUI experience is vastly different from Google’s vision of Android and companies like Meizu have been customizing Android for the Chinese consumer for years now. This is an interesting move and while it might have some effect on the market in the next year or two, we doubt this will change the status quo in China.