China Unicom, China's second largest mobile services provider, has announced the arrival of its new Linux based operating system that will compete with iOS and Android for the largest mobile phone market in the world.
According to China Tech News, Unicom, which is currently Apple's iPhone and iPad partner in China, will soon start offering smartphones based on its own operating system, Wophone.
Unlike rival China Mobile's Ophone OS, which is based on Google's Android platform, Wophone is a hybrid OS with the Linux 2.6 system at its core.
Unicom will be partnering with HTC, Sony Ericsson, ZTE, Huawei, Samsung, Motorola and TCL to develop smartphones based on the platform. Apart from supporting its own WCDMA network, smartphones based on the Wophone OS will also support 3G Chinese standards like CDMA2000 and TD-SCDMA and 4G next-generation LTE networks.
The operating system, which has been under development since 2008, is also capable of being deployed on tablet devices, gaming consoles and connected televisions.
China Unicom's move into the smartphone market is not good news for Apple or Google. Both the companies are struggling to establish themselves in the Chinese smartphone market but Unicom's local presence and consumer base would help it leverage its OS more than Apple and Google might manage.