Tencent today unveiled an operating system for smartwatches, TVs and other Internet-connected devices today. The system, which was first discussed last year, leverages Tencent’s hugely population social services, which includes QQ and mobile messaging app WeChat.
The Tencent OS and TOS+ is available to be licensed without cost, like Google’s Android. Tencent launched a platform for smartphones back in January, but this new software is focused on wearables and other Internet-connected devices, such as smartwatches, wearables and smart TV sets.
Speaking at the GMIC event in Beijing, Tencent COO Mark Ren said the platform offered a more social option that could be used to make money using third-party services while taking advantage of integrated social services from Tencent.
Tencent is not the first to jump on this opportunity. Alibaba launched a smart home business focused on turning any device or utility into a ‘smart’ one, while it already uses its ‘Yun OS’ — which is being adopted by Meizu, a smartphone maker that Alibaba invested in. Xiaomi too has a ‘platform’ of hardware companies those devices are sold within its Mi.com online store, and optimized for its smartphones.
That said, just launching a new platform doesn’t turn it into a success. Baidu, for one, closed down its Android ROM last month due to lack of interest. The Chinese giant may have opted out of mobile, but it did acquire ROM maker Dianxin indicating that it does still have aspirations in this space. Samsung is still trying to sell developers on Tizen, but the operating system has yet to become a viable competitor to Android.