Indian Government is planning its own smartphone OS


The smartphone market now mainly has two operating systems powering most smartphones. Several companies tried launching alternate mobile OS but failed to capture a considerable market share. However, the Indian Government thinks that there’s a scope for another mobile platform.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, told the Economics Times that the government is planning a policy to bring a homegrown mobile operating system. The ministry is doing research on the capabilities of Indian startups and academic institutions for this plan.

“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,” Chandrasekhar said.

BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone, WebOS, Tizen, and Bada OS were some mobile Operating Systems that have been killed after failing to compete against Android and iOS. Some still active but small mobile Operating Systems are KaiOS and Sailfish OS. Huawei also unveiled Harmony OS but that seems to be EMUI-based on Android 10.

Even if the Indian Government proceeds with the plan, I guess the home-grown OS will be something based on the Android OpenSource project. Making a mobile OS from scratch won’t be much popular if it fails to attract developers’ support and support for Google Apps.

A new smartphone OS won’t get success if it lacks popular apps used by smartphone users on a daily basis. Take an example of Alibaba Local Services Operating System. The company thought it can easily target China and its huge population could help it in gaining a considerable userbase. But it failed to meet expectations.

India is now pushing hard to become a global electronic manufacturing hub and supply chain. The Indian OS will help the country drive a native handset hardware market.

India is a big mobile phone market but 30% market is still represented by low-cost featured phones. The 80% of smartphones sold in the country are priced less than Rs. 25000. The government should focus more on making smartphones more affordable and eliminate featured phones. Even if the government plans a smartphone OS for low-cost phones, it won’t be easy to compete against the Android Go edition that has all the apps people use.

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