HTC sees new smartphone OS as a way to strengthen its presence in China

HTC 8XT back camera angle

A report published by the Wall Street Journal says HTC is working on its own smartphone operating system, which it will use to boost its market share in China. Quoting anonymous sources, the WSJ says the project is supervised by HTC’s chairperson Cher Wang, and is being developed following discussions with the Chinese government and the publication of a white paper saying the industry is relying too much on Google’s Android operating system.

While there are no firm technical details in the report, such as the platform on which the new OS will be built, it is stated the new software will integrate Chinese-specific social networking apps like Weibo, in the same way as Apple has done with Facebook and Twitter on iOS.

It’s by no means the first new operating system we’ve seen or heard about this year, as several other companies, from Mozilla to Samsung, are also working on breaking Google’s stranglehold on the industry. It may seem surprising that HTC has decided to go its own way instead of choosing an existing alternative such as Firefox OS, but the open nature of Mozilla’s new OS is equally as unattractive to Chinese officials as Android.

Despite sharing the same language and geographical proximity, the ties between Taiwanese HTC and China aren’t all that strong, and changing that is something which analysts are saying could also alter the company’s finances in the future. Mergers with Chinese companies such as Huawei and Lenovo have been suggested as a way to open up the Chinese market, but by developing a new Chinese-specific operating system, HTC could avoid such a drastic solution.

Perhaps the most telling part of the report is there’s no mention of HTC CEO Peter Chou. Recently outed as a difficult, impulsive, but talented boss in a profile by Reuters, Chou’s leadership has been blamed for the company’s financial woes over the past year. Could Cher Wang’s involvement with this project signal she is taking a more active role in the company’s development?

Apparently, HTC’s new OS is already being tested and the first phones running it could launch before the end of the year.

Product Review

Huawei’s monster Mate 20 X makes the Galaxy Note 9 look small

The Huawei Mate 20 X has a 7.2-inch screen, but is surprisingly manageable to hold, yet still a little too big to carry around. Huawei’s pushing the phone’s ability as a mobile gaming handheld, challenging the Nintendo Switch.
Mobile

Google may charge up to $40 per Android device for app suite following EU ruling

Google announced that it will be charging Android device manufacturers in Europe a licensing fee to use its apps and services. The announcement is part of an effort to comply with new European Commission regulations.
Mobile

Goodbye, Essential? Android creator’s startup cuts nearly a third of its staff

Essential has cut as much as 30 percent of its workforce, suggesting that it may be in more trouble than previously thought. The news comes a few months after the company reportedly canceled a follow-up to the Essential Phone.
Computing

Is the Pixelbook 2 still happening? Here's everything we know so far

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Has the Pixel Slate taken its place? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Cars

Heads up, George Jetson: Terrafugia starts taking orders for its flying car

The Terrafugia Transition flying car will go on sale next year, roughly a decade after the first prototype rolled out of its hangar. Terrafugia promises improvements, including a hybrid powertrain, to make up for the long wait.
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from XS on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Photography

Camera shootout! Testing the latest Pixel, iPhone, and Galaxy Note in real life

Which takes the best photos, the Pixel 3 XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy Note 9, or Pixel 2 XL? We put the cameras on all these top-notch phones through their paces to see which performs best in the real world, from low light to portrait mode…
Mobile

How to sell your old Google Pixel or Pixel 2 for the most money

So, it's time for a expensive new smartphone, and you'd like to partially fund the purchase by selling your old Google Pixel. Find all the information you need to get as much money as possible for your Pixel or Pixel 2 here in our guide.
Mobile

The OnePlus 6T is coming a day earlier, event moved to October 29

According to a recent report, the launch of the OnePlus 6T could be different from any other OnePlus launch in history. How? It could have the backing of a major U.S. carrier. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 6T.
Mobile

Sprint now lets you add Hulu's Live TV service to your unlimited plan

Sprint recently introduced three new data plans to its roster -- Unlimited Basic , Unlimited Plus, and Unlimited Premium. Here, we break down your options to help you decide which one is best for you and your family.
Mobile

Sams's Club offers $100 gift cards for iPhone XR pre-orders

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally taken the wraps off of the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now that the phones are out, you might be wondering how you can get them for yourself.
Mobile

It’s about time! A USB-C magnetic charger for the Apple Watch has finally arrived

While most of the buzz surrounding Apple has been about the iPhone XR, the company also introduced a new Apple Watch accessory. Starting October 24, a USB-C magnetic charger will be available for purchase.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Product Review

Amazon’s child-friendly tablet is the complete package

Kids are tough on electronics and it’s difficult to police screen time and manage what they’re doing. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition could be the affordable answer to your prayers, with a rugged case and worry-free warranty.