Tencent launches smart hardware OS to rival Alibaba
Tue 28 Apr 2015
Chinese internet and media giant Tencent Holdings has today launched an operating system for mobile devices such as internet-connected phones, TVs, smartwatches and other IoT products.
Tencent Operating System (OS) TOS+ is open to all developers and manufacturers free of charge should they agree to share their revenue – a framework similar to Google’s popular Android mobile OS.
“We want to inject more content into smart hardware systems and have connectivity across different terminals,” said TOS+ chief Zhong Xiangping.
Currently the Shenzhan-based company dominates social media and digital entertainment in China and a successful TOS+ would cement its presence in online consumers’ lives. WeChat, Tencent’s mobile messaging app, is the most widely used in the country for communication, as well as being a popular platform for shopping, gaming and hailing taxis. Combined with alternative app QQ, Tencent’s instant messaging portfolio holds more than 1 billion users.
The new Tencent OS offering, which provides voice recognition and mobile payment systems, will rival other home-grown operating systems looking to conquer the smart hardware arena with connected wearables, TVs and smart homeware technology. These competitors include smartphone maker Xiaomi and Asia’s largest internet company Alibaba, who hopes to see its recently launched Yun OS eventually installed on tens of millions of smartphones.
The Chinese systems for mobile and hardware products provide an alternative to Google’s services which constantly face challenges across the country due to strict censorship and licensing laws.
Tencent chief operating officer Mark Ren told the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing that the company plans to deploy the Android-based TOS+ in smart hardware, from fitness bands and smart glasses to homeware devices and virtual reality systems.
“What Tencent will be in the future is a connector,” said Ren. “We want to make an open platform to connect all people, devices and services.”