China wary of overdependence on Android

Summary:Being too dependent on Android means they risk facing patent-related litigation and discrimination from Google, says Ministry of Industry and Information Technology whitepaper.

Chinese handset makers are too dependent on Google's Android mobile operating system which brings the risk of patent-related litigation as well as discrimination by Google, according to a ministry.

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Chinese ministry says local phonemakers are too dependent on Android.

In a whitepaper published Tuesday, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said domestic handset makers were "heavily dependent" on Android which brings a risk of paying royalties for patent licensing or litigation.

"Open source is not free. For example, Oracle sued Google for patent infringement in Android while Microsoft receives Android-related patent licensing fee from HTC and Samsung," said the whitepaper.

Besides running the risk of a patent lawsuit, the ministry said the core technology and development roadmap of Android was still strictly controlled by Google. Thus Chinese firms could be discriminated against by Google if the U.S. firm delays sharing the source code or uses business agreements to restrict the handset maker, it added.

That said, the ministry acknowledged the role of open source software in helping the local companies develop their mobile ecosystem. The whitepaper said open source software reduced the barriers for development of mobile OS for local companies.

Open source software allowed Chinese firms to shorten their learning curve to master the world's most advanced technology and rapidly upgrade their devices. In the first half of 2012, Chinese handset makers, such as Yulong, Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE, managed to overtake foreign phones in market share for the first time, it added.

China has been encouraging local firms to develop domestic alternatives to foreign technology vendors. Results from these efforts include the Tiansuo K1 highend server and Godson-3B1500 chip by Loongson Technology .

Topics: Android, China, Smartphones

About

The only journalist in the team without a Western name, Yun Qing hails from the mountainy Malaysian state, Sabah. She currently covers the hardware and networking beats, as well as everything else that falls into her lap, at ZDNet Asia. Her RSS feed includes tech news sites and most of the Cheezburger network. She is also a cheapskate mas... Full Bio

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