Indian government wants to take on Android, iOS with indigenous mobile OS

Remember IndusOS?

  • Indian government wants to create an ecosystem to foster the development of an indigenous mobile operating system.
  • The government of India wants the homegrown mobile operating system as an alternative to Android and iOS.
  • The government talks with startups and educational ecosystems to take the plan further.

The government of India is working on developing a homegrown mobile operating system, going head to head against Android and iOS. On Monday, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, said that the government is working on a new policy to facilitate an ecosystem in India to bolster the development of an indigenous mobile operating system rivalling Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.

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As of now, the mobile operating space is dominated by Google and Apple. Most of the smartphones across the globe are either running Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS. As per Chandrasekhar, there’s no third operating system competing against Android or iOS, and the government of India wants the third option to come out of India. The government is looking to collaborate with start-up and academic ecosystems to develop an indigenous operating system.

“There is no third one. Therefore, in a lot of ways there is tremendous interest in MeitY and in the Government of India to even create a new handset operating system. We are talking to people. We are looking at a policy for that,” said Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

Chandrasekhar further added, “If there is some real capability, then we will be very much interested in developing that area because that will create an alternative to iOS and Android, which then an Indian brand can grow.” 

The minister said that most policies are being re-looked at, reimagining goals and ambitions. “Important is to have clear goals. Once we have clear goals and what is that we have to achieve then all the policies and actions will be consistent with it,” Chandrasekhar added.

The government of India released the second volume of Vision Document on Electronics Manufacturing prepared by the Indian Cellular and Electronics Association, comprising members such as Apple, Lava, Foxconn, Dixon etc. The document details a roadmap of increasing electronics manufacturing from USD 75 billion (around Rs 5,63,820 crore) to USD 300 billion (roughly Rs. 22,55,265 crore) within next 4 years.

It’s not the first time someone has tried to develop an indigenous mobile operating system in India or anywhere in the world. A few years ago, an Indian startup, Indus OS, developed a mobile operating system 2015. It became the second most used operating system in 2016, leaving iOS and Windows behind in the game. But, the company couldn’t keep it to the Android and shifted to the app store model after a few years. In 2011, China’s Alibaba group created YunOS, now known as AliOS, based on Android. However, it’s been two years since the last update.