India seems to have taken the self-sufficiency theme to another level with a home-grown mobile operating system developed at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. It’s called BharOS (Bhar is short for Bharat, or India).
The recently unveiled OS does not appear to be consumer focused. Instead it is designed to be used in businesses and high-security surroundings. It is claimed to be more secure than Android.
The Linux-based BharOS has no default apps; it gives users access only to trusted apps from private store services. It also comes with a native over-the-air update (NOTA) feature that keeps devices safe; this is automatically downloaded and installed on the device.
This local operating system is another step towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aim of making India self-reliant in a number of mobile-related technologies like chip-making and 5G equipment.
It’s also another shot across the bows of Google, whose dominant market position with its Android mobile operating system has come under fire in India recently after it received a $160 million fine in an antitrust case. The country’s competition watchdog has also asked Google to allow smartphone users to uninstall certain apps and use their preferred search engine, among other measures.
Android certainly does dominate this market; it runs about 97% of India’s 620 million smartphones. But can BharOS compete?
As the Indian Express newspaper points out, there is no clear information on when BharOS will be available for download, how to install it, OEM partners, or targeted phones and chipsets. In fact a wide rollout is not imminent, so, despite the upbeat mood around the announcement of the new OS, its real-world performance is not likely to be measurable for some time.