India unveils a “homegrown” mobile OS to take on Android’s stranglehold in the country

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Last week an Indian government official said, “India is one of the largest mobile device markets in the globe. Our objective is to create a secure Indian mobile operating system that could also create choices and competition for Android’s dominance in the Indian market.” This took place as India’s Supreme Court refused to give in to Google’s request to block a ruling from the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Google was accused by the CCI of forcing phone manufacturers who want to license the Google Mobile Services (GMS) version of Android to pre-install Google apps like Chrome, Google Search, and YouTube on these devices. Starting tomorrow, Google is required in India to end the restrictions placed on phone manufacturers who want to license the GMS version of Android. Android-powered handsets have a whopping 97% share of the Indian smartphone market.

According to The Register, the minister for education and minister of skill development & entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan demonstrated at his workplace today a new mobile operating system developed in India. Called BharOS, the software was announced last week by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

In announcing the creation of BharOS, the ITT said that it can be installed on “commercial off-the-shelf handsets” delivering “a secure environment for users.” The operating system has no pre-loaded apps and it doesn’t share any user data. Only private app stores will work with the OS. Pradhan also stated that BharOS won’t run malware although there was no further explanation given.

While the operating system is installed with no default apps, native over-the-air updates will automatically disseminate security patches without waiting for the device owner to initiate the process. This means that all BharOS users will be running the latest version of the software.

Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “BharOS Service is a Mobile Operating System built on a foundation of trust, with a focus on providing users more freedom, control, and flexibility to choose and use only the apps that fit their needs. This innovative system promises to revolutionize the way users think about security and privacy on their mobile devices.”

Kamakoti added, “IIT Madras looks forward to working closely with many more private industry, Government agencies, Strategic agencies, and Telecom Service Providers to increase the usage and adoption of BharOS in our Country.” However, it needs to be pointed out that BharOS is a forked version of Android meaning that it copies the source code used by Android. That is what Amazon used to create FireOS for the Fire Phone. These phones do not need to have a Google Mobile Service (GMS) license but do not offer any Google apps, or the Google Play Store.

India is the second-largest smartphone market in the world. The country trails China but is ahead of the United States.

source: phonearena