The government of South Korea is to organise a consortium of local companies such as Samsung and LG, in order to have them develop a range of open, cloud-based operating systems that can compete with products from Google and Apple.
According to reports, Ministry of Knowledge Economy deputy minister Kim Jae-hong said on Monday that the plan was to create web-centric operating systems first for PCs and laptops, and then for smartphones and tablets. Kim said this was necessary in order to compete with US companies.
"We will forge ahead in developing a new kind of operating system, which is being seen as a next-generation product, in order to build the kind of advantage we do not enjoy in the market for smartphones and tablet PCs, which is dominated by Google and Apple," Kim said, according to The Chosun Ilbo.
The Korea Herald reported that the consortium will be launched by the end of the year, and that the government will try to help promote use of the operating systems. According to that report, Kim also noted that, while Samsung had originally been against the plan, it quickly changed its mind once Google announced it was to take over Motorola.
Samsung is a highly successful maker of Android smartphones and tablets, and is locked in a vicious battle with Apple over alleged patent infringement. The two companies currently have 19 lawsuits taking place in nine countries, as patent expert Florian Mueller pointed out over the weekend.
Google has said its purchase of Motorola Mobility and that company's thousands of patents would be used to protect manufacturers of Android devices. However, some fear the company may give preference on Android updates and development to Motorola, or even strike out on its own as a hardware manufacturer.
"We cannot completely rule out the possibility of Google jumping into the smartphone business in the future," Kim is quoted as saying.
Cloud- or web-based operating systems such as Android and Google's desktop-focused Chrome OS rely heavily on the processing of information in remote datacentres, making it possible to create client devices that are less powerful and therefore cheaper.