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Is HTC Distancing Itself From Android?

htc-one-new-osTaiwanese smartphone maker HTC is reportedly making their own operating system. HTC is working with the Chinese government to develop a Chinese specific OS that would implement programs like the Chinese version of Twitter, Weibo. According to techcrunch.com:

“HTC’s Hail Mary play might not take the form of another new smartphone: The Taiwanese company is reportedly working with Chinese government officials to build a mobile OS that includes “deep integration’ with China-specific services like Weibo, aimed specifically at the Chinese market. The project could see the new mobile OS launch before year’s end, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.”

The reports have been vague and do not state whether HTC will create an entirely new OS from scratch, or if they will build a fully customized version of Google’s open source Android. If they choose the former, it would be a pretty bold move, making them less reliant on Google and Android, something most Android smartphone makers and China are looking for. As reported by wsj.com:

“The project.. plays into Beijing’s wider efforts to create a unique software ecosystem and reduce reliance on Western tech firms like Google Inc. and Apple. A number of Chinese companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.  and Baidu Inc. have created their own China-tailored software with Beijing’s blessing.  But HTC would be the first outside mainland China to create an operating system specifically for Chinese consumers, IDC analyst Teck Zhung Wong says.

“Finally, many hardware companies don’t want all their eggs in the Android basket, which controlled 79% of the global smartphone market in the second quarter, according to market research firm Gartner. That’s partly why Samsung, for instance, continues to develop its own operating system.”

This news comes as HTC is trying to make a major turnaround of its business. Once a prominent smartphone maker in the Android market, they’ve watched Samsung erode their market share significantly and they have not reported great numbers in the past few quarters. This new move will go along with HTC’s billion-dollar-campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr. that they hope will rebrand the company.

With a little rebranding and a new ecosystem in China, which is going to be one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, maybe HTC can turn things around.

 

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