updated 07:58 am EST, Thu January 16, 2014
Claims independent development of COS increases security
A mobile operating system approved by the Chinese government has launched, in what it hopes use in its fight against the use of foreign-developed operating systems in devices and infrastructure. COS, the "China Operating System," has been developed by the ISCAS, the government, and Shanghai Liantong, though reports in August suggested that HTC was also involved in some way.
It is claimed to be a more secure operating system than open platforms such as Android or Linux distributions, with People.com.cn noting them to have various "public security flaws" and hidden vulnerabilities. Though COS borrows some aspects from openly-developed operating systems, the core of the software is claimed to be developed independently. It also boasts a user interface more suited for the Chinese market, and can apparently be used in a wide array of devices, including smartphones and tablets, computers, and set-top boxes.
Despite the apparent independence, Engadget notes that some of the devices had an appearance similar to Android, with a HTC One shown to have an interface almost identical to Sense 5. HTC's involvement, though not directly mentioned, could be much more than an overlay, with initial mentions of a HTC-based OS emerging in 2010. An OS created for China could also potentially help HTC improve sales in the country, potentially correcting the company's current financial situation.
It is not known how long it will be until the first devices running COS will ship, nor if devices carrying the OS will be offered outside of China.