Timing its launch at a time when smart devices and wearables have finally started to appeal to a major proportion of gadget fanatics, China’s Tencent has launched its own operating system dedicated solely to the ecosystem of these smart,connected devices.
Tencent had already hinted last year that such an operating system in work. Tencent Operating System and TOS+ allow manufacturers and developers to freely use the platform if they agree to share revenue, pretty much like what Google does with Android.
Tencent earlier launched an operating system for smartphones. But neither did that OS garner much attention, nor did it find itself loaded on much smartphones. However, connected devices is a whole new arena, and undeterred from its smartphone OS failure, Tencent has come up with another platform and will focus on range of internet-connected devices and wearables.
This also comes as a direct challenge to other major home-grown markets including Alibaba and Xiaomi, that are making attempts to rise in the same field. Xiaomi has already expanded its root to smart devices that includes fitness band, air purifiers and smart TV.
Earlier this month, Alibaba formed a ‘smart living’ business unit as it races to introduce internet and computing capabilities to various kinds of everyday products. On the other hand, Tencent has an enormous user data base for its social network and is popular enough and is also popular for shopping, gaming and other mobile services such as hailing a taxi.
Internet connected devices and wearables promise an ultra bright future and every major, as well as minor electronic brand looks forward to take an advantage of this surging field, either by conceiving a wearable of their own, or by developing an application support ecosystem. A majority of tech giants including Google, Apple, Motorola, Huwaei and LG have all already developed their own smart watches.
In China too, the war for dominance is surging at a rapid pace. Baidu Inc, China’s biggest search engine, is also developing its own Android-based smart watch OS, DuWear. If we time travel a year back, there’s none of them to be found. Well, that’s pretty evident how fast we are stepping into the space of connected devices.
With Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android powering a major proportion of wearables, it will be a tedious task for Tencent to replace a considerable amount of OS powering those smart watches. Samsung, so far, has struggled with its Tizen OS that it built for its wearables. Baidu, closed down its Android ROM last month because it didn’t receive any appraise.
Tencent is leveraging its ownership of China’s two most-popular instant messaging applications -WeChat and QQ to boost its efforts against Android. That may not change very soon though, considering Google’s software accounted for 78 percent of the global industry in 2013, followed by Apple Inc.’s 16 percent, according to Gartner’s report.