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Smart devices key to winning “Third OS” race

Competitors to Google and Apple need to develop universal support for their customers.

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OS vendors have been warned to look at the whole scale of developing an operating system, as IoT has brought along connected devices of all sorts.

Analysts said OS vendors looking to compete against Google and Apple with a "Third OS" need to be concerned with supporting wearables, smart cars, and smart home devices.

As Google expands Android Wear, and Apple launches its Apple Watch, ABI Research further suggested that OS vendors must capitalise not only on wearables, but all smart device categories requiring an OS.

The company used the Apple Watch to highlight current limitations within the smartwatches industry; the capabilities are limited to a few primary uses, while future devices will need to do as much as smartphones do today.

New OS vendors will achieve scale when capitalising on these device types throughout their launch.

The company also said an OS must appeal to developing markets, making a note to India and China as key players.

Eric Abbruzzese, Research Analyst at ABI Research said: "For both new and incumbent OS vendors, capturing the next wave of users will require support of new device types, a strong focus on developing markets, and support for universal development processes.

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"Capitalising on markets outside of Google’s services footprint, whether it be through AOSP, fully forked Android, or another platform, will prove necessary. For development, creating a strong universal platform will not only help an OS attract new developers — necessary in underserved markets — but will also encourage developers to port their existing content to a new OS.

"OS competition is a game with reduced barriers compared to 3 years ago. While even the race for the 3rd place OS is a high stakes game requiring significant capital, we have seen mobile operators, large national retailers, and upstart hardware manufacturers looking to the OS space to gain a foothold and leverage their services to better compete in the market.

"There is no question that OS development is something that can be considered by financial service companies or consumer packaged goods companies with the right use case and business model."

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