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Korea making own mobile OS to offset Apple, Google-Motorola

updated 05:05 pm EDT, Tue August 23, 2011

Korea OS to reduce dependency on iPhone, Android

South Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy deputy minister Kim Jae-hong stated late Monday that the country was looking to develop its own mobile and desktop operating systems to reduce dependency on outsiders like Apple and Google. A plan due to start before the end of 2011 would see Korean companies, presumably LG, Samsung, Pantech, and others, make their own open-source platforms both for mobile and a Chrome OS-like desktop. It would also hope to establish a "habitat," Kim told Yonhap and other media outlets, where locals were encouraged to pick their own OS over others.

The move would give Samsung an out should the worst happen in its legal battle with Apple and it requires an alternative. Samsung already has Bada but has largely treated it as an entry-level smartphone platform, with little app and sales support.

The actual threat, however, might be Google. Its buyout of Motorola could lead to Google itself competing against its own hardware partners, leaving Korean phone makers at an inherent disadvantage, Kim suggested. Google has publicly promised that Motorola would be kept as a "separate entity," but leaks have suggested it plans to emulate the Apple model and have Motorola make official Google phones.

Google would likely be safe in the near term. "Because Google is an open-source system, it cannot just switch over to a closed-source system overnight," Kim said.

Apple would most likely welcome a Korea-made OS. As Samsung and LG are two of the largest Android supporters, their lowering dependence on Android would mostly feed into reduced market share for Google, particularly in South Korea. Self-developed platforms, even custom OS variants like China's Android-based Open Mobile System, rarely gain relevance outside of their home countries.

A home web-based OS would be unusual given their poor uptake. Although market share is still unknown, relatively few have bought into Chrome OS so far and instead have opted for either Macs or Windows PCs. Korea would would be trying to take on two of the largest software developers with an OS that might not reach other areas.

By Electronista Staff


  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Can't wait to see it

    I wonder if it will be complete copy of iOS or a partial copy of Android which will be a complete copy of iOS.

  1. Bobfozz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008


    they ARE trying...

    but their "PC like" culture will make it hard for them to innovate. I am sure they will watch Google and Apple closely, every second. They VERY much care what others think. Apple ignores this (pretty much) and creates stuff which is so staggering that it is hard to ignore. PC fanboys know this and hate it. Too bad, old school.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Copy it all

    They will copy it all from Apple. Then sell the device to the US based on their copied OS. Lets hope Americans are not stupid enough to buy their POS.

  1. bazaarsoft

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005


    Say again?

    "Apple would most likely welcome a Korea-made OS. As Samsung and LG are two of the largest Android supporters, their lowering dependence on Android would mostly feed into reduced market share for Google, particularly in South Korea."

    How do you figure that? Google soon won't give a c*** about other hardware makers anyway. And, another alternative, particularly in Asia where Apple loyalty is significantly less, would only mean more competition with the addition of a nationalistic bent. They probably don't fear it much, but won't "welcome" it either.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    International sales

    I'm sure the proprietary Korean OS will sell well in all Korean-speaking countries around the world. Especially if Samsung makes a low-end model for North Korea.

    Oh wait. No, never mind.

  1. Hash

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Apr 2001



    Most probably it will be a Linux for desktops and some variation of bada for smartphones.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999


    That'll be great

    For all those smartphone and PC owners that don't want to run applications.

  1. johncarync

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002



    A government-run operating system? That sounds like a recipe for disaster.

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