South Korea will seek to develop an open-source operating system (OS) for mobile phones that will help secure local smartphone makers' future competitiveness against their rivals such as Apple, a government official said Monday.
The S. Korean government will launch a project before the end of the year to allow the country's phone makers to jointly develop their own open-source mobile operating system, as well as a Web-based operating system.
The move comes shortly after Google announced its purchase of Motorola Mobility, which makes phones based on Google's Android operating system. Google's move could help the company better compete with Apple, which makes iPhones based on its own operating system.
Although S. Korean Samsung is curently producing Android-running smartphones, Kim Jae-hong, a deputy minister from the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, believes that Google's deal poses challenges to South Korean companies such as Samsung, the YonapNews agency reported today. On the other hand, it would provide short-term protection for South Korean companies using the open Android system against Apple's patent claims. Samsung is currently facing patent suits raised by Apple that claim the South Korean company copied the design and operating functions of its iPhone 3 model.
"Because Google is an open-source system, it cannot just switch over to a closed-source system overnight," the deputy minister for industry told reporters, referring to the Android OS. He added that because the joint market share of Samsung and LG Electronics Inc. is the second largest in the global hardware market, the government expects the current cooperative relationships between Google and Samsung and LG will continue for some time.
Kim added that Samsung had been very negative about joint development of an open OS, but its stance changed greatly after the Google-Motorola merger.