It seemed clear from the start of this year that the wearable game was likely to be very reminiscent of the smartphone race from the past decade or so, with Apple and Google pitting their iOS and Android Wear respective products against one another and a few smaller, scrappy underdogs fighting it out in the wings. Perhaps not so though, as Tencent, one of China’s biggest media and entertainment companies, has now announced that it has made its own operating system that is designed to work with all sorts of products: including wearables.
However, Tencent isn’t stopping at smart, wrist mounted devices. Its new OS is said to work on TVs and other internet connected devices, potentially spreading across a huge swathe of products if it proves popular. Termed the TOS+ or Tencent Operating System, it’s available for free for those that want to work with it, much like Google’s Android and Android Wear platforms. This could help separate it out from Apple’s offerings, which have traditionally been much more part of a closed ecosystem.
Tencent COO Mark Ren said of the new OS that it would offer a much more social experience than currently available through its competitors’ software. Developers would be able to make money it said, but through the sale of third party applications through the OS, not through its direct sale. That should help keep the platform cheap for customers, as well as the developers themselves.
Of course as pumped for its new platform as Tencent is, it isn’t the first developer to try out a new mobile and wearable OS. Samsung’s Tizen hasn’t been quite the explosive disruptor it hoped it would and Baidu’s Android ROM recently shut its doors due to lack of interest from the international community.
As TechCrunch points out however, there are others currently vying for the third spot on the wearable OS band wagon. Alibaba recently launched a smart home system which could extend to wearable devices in short order. Xiamoi also has an operating system of its own that may be brought to bear in short order.
The question is, can any of them really stand a chance against industry giants like Google and Apple? Microsoft too may make a splash this year with its smart Band reviewing well across the board.
Do you guys think any of these developers have a chance of standing out?
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