Sat, Jan 18, 2014 - Page 13 News List

HTC mum on China operating system

Staff writer, with CNA

Struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) declined to comment yesterday on a promotional video that uses four of its mobile devices to showcase new features of a Chinese-made mobile operating system.

Chinese software company Shanghai Liantong (上海聯通), in collaboration with the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese government, on Wednesday launched a government-approved China Operating System (COS), designed to break a foreign monopoly in the field of infrastructure software.

An official promotional video released on Chinese video-sharing site Youku.com showed COS running on various mobile devices, including the Apple iPhone 4S, the HTC Butterfly, HTC One, HTC One Max phones and the HTC Flyer tablet.

COS is designed to run on personal computers, smartphones, tablets, set-top boxes and smart appliances similar to those that use Google Inc’s Android OS.

However, the Chinese government is not planning to make COS an open-source platform because of security concerns.

HTC, whose devices run on Android and Microsoft Corp’s Windows, declined to confirm the products or any plans to launch COS-based devices.

“HTC remains focused on working with its current OS partners and we do not comment on speculation regarding other systems,” the company told reporters in an e-mail.

The COS announcement came after the Wall Street Journal reported in August last year that HTC was developing a new mobile operating system specifically targeting China, a market that the company hopes will help invigorate sliding sales.

The struggling handset maker posted an operating loss of NT$1.56 billion (US$52 million) in the three months ending last month, its second consecutive quarterly operating loss after being in the black every quarter since going public in 2002.

HTC chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅) told Chinese news site Sina in September last year that her company is aiming to grab a 20 percent share of China’s high-end market by introducing two flagship smartphones — the Butterfly and One series.

According to data from research firm Avanti, however, the firm has seen its smartphone market share in China decline to 7.1 percent in the second quarter last year, while its brand awareness among Chinese consumers lags behind Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.

Many local analysts remain negative on HTC’s earnings outlook this year, citing intensifying competition and the lack of significant drivers of growth in the pipeline.

HTC shares edged up 1.12 percent to close at NT$135.5 yesterday in Taipei trading before its year-end party for employees. The company lost 53 percent of its market value last year.

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