News

Why India Wants to Create Its Own Phone OS

Security, Sovereignty and Control

central thesis

  • India wants to develop its own mobile operating system.
  • Relying on technology from other countries for critical infrastructure is a security risk.
  • Creating a new mobile operating system is difficult. Getting people to change can be much more difficult.

Shilajit DC / Unsplash

The Indian government plans to create a ‘native’ operating system (OS) that will rival iOS and Android.

There are currently only two phone operating system alternatives controlled by a California-based US company (iOS and Android). India wants a third domestic choice and plans to boost its $75 billion electronics manufacturing industry.

“Countries like India, for example, need their own operating systems and security chips for sensitive applications for national security. I think it’s a good move for the Indian government to start investing in the software development industry to create its own operating systems for government officials, banks and financial institutions, space agencies and other important institutions that are vulnerable to government-backed hacking,” writer Victoria Mendoza emailed. told Lifewire via

security

The US government has already raised similar concerns. Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE were recently banned from deploying network equipment. The move is important for 5G cellular networks running on hardware that may be under the control of the Chinese government.

“Countries like India, for example, need their own operating systems and security chips for sensitive applications for national security.”

With that said, it’s easy to see if India and perhaps other countries prefer to use domestically built operating systems for their phones, and perhaps even build hardware to do so. Apple is already expanding its manufacturing facilities in India, and the expertise it has gained will help with India’s plans.

Uneasy

This is what the Indian government wants right now.

According to the article in Indian Economic Times, the government plans to create a policy that will guide the creation of a “base operating system”. It is difficult to wave much more.

But even if India develops an operating system and the hardware to run it, there are still serious hurdles. First, you need to convince users to stop using iPhones and Android phones. This is very difficult given that our lives are almost inextricably linked with mobile computers. There should be apps that only serve if the platform is attractive and makes it worthwhile to develop that app with enough people to use it. It’s a classic chicken and egg problem.

“The problem with government and separate operating systems is that many app developers and companies have to make their separate apps and software compatible with government-led operating systems,” Mendoza says.

A person holds a black iPhone at arm's length with the Netflix logo on the screen.

Sayan Gosh / Unsplash

Android and iPhone mostly avoided this by being there from the beginning. Apple arguably created a modern mobile app ecosystem with the App Store. Microsoft didn’t even break into the mobile sector with Windows Phone. I didn’t name it “Windows”, but it might help.

In theory, India could mandate its own phones by banning the alternative, but there will still be gaps to be filled before apps are ready.

And remember, India’s current mobile ecosystem is already running on the same apps and services we all use. Closing payment and messaging platforms, for example, could be economically disastrous.

“But in my opinion, the government of India cannot force its people to stop using Android and iOS phones, but it can advocate the use of phones running on operating systems developed in India and give them a chance to choose a more secure system. We protect the interests of the country and its people,” Mendoza says.

It is a very difficult task, although it is desirable and advantageous to develop and control the technology used in your country if everything goes as well as possible. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try. And who knows? Perhaps India’s phones and operating systems are so good that people from other countries will also decide to switch to them. At the very least, it will add a bit of variety and competition to the strong and somewhat dying monopoly we currently have.


More information

Why India Wants to Create Its Own Phone OS

Security, sovereignty, and control

Key Takeaways
India wants to create its own home-grown mobile operating system.
Relying on other countries’ tech for critical infrastructure is a security risk. 
Creating a new mobile OS is hard; getting people to switch might be even harder.
Shilajit D.C. / Unsplash

India’s government plans to create an ‘indigenous’ operating system (OS) to rival iOS and Android. 

Currently, there are only two alternatives for phone operating systems, both of which are controlled by US companies in California (iOS and Android). India wants a third, home-grown choice, and it also plans to grow its electronics manufacturing industry from $75 billion per year to $300 billion, which could include Indian-designed phones for the domestic market. India’s Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has announced a desire to mix things up. 

“Due to national security reasons, countries like India, for example, need to have their own OS as well as secure chips for sensitive applications. I think it is a good move that the Indian government has started investing in software engineering industries to come up with its own OS for the use of government employees, banks and financial institutions, space agencies, and other critical agencies that are vulnerable to state-sponsored hacking,” technology writer Victoria Mendoza told Lifewire via email. 

Security

The US government has already dealt with similar concerns. Recently it banned Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE from providing networking equipment. This measure is important for 5G mobile networks, which would otherwise run on hardware potentially under the control of the Chinese government. 

“Due to national security reasons, countries like India, for example, need to have their own OS as well as secure chips for sensitive applications.”

Looking at it that way, it’s easy to see why India, and perhaps other countries, would prefer to use a domestically-built operating system for phones and potentially also build the hardware to run it. Apple is already expanding its manufacturing in India, and the expertise learned there would help India’s plans. 

Not So Easy

Right now, the Indian government’s wishes are just that. 

According to the article in India’s Economic Times, the government has plans to create policies that will direct the creation of an “indigenous operating system.” It’s hard to get much more hand-wavy than that. 

But even if India manages to create a viable operating system, and hardware to run it on, there are still significant barriers. First, it will have to convince users not to use iPhones and Android phones. Given that our lives are almost inextricably tied up in our mobile computers, that’s a hugely difficult task already. There would have to be apps, which will only come if the platform is compelling, and enough people use it to make developing those apps worthwhile. It’s the classic chicken and egg problem.

“The problem of having a state-owned and separate OS is that many app developers as well companies will have to make separate apps and software compatible with the government initiated OS,” says Mendoza

Sayan Ghosh / Unsplash

Android and the iPhone avoided this largely by being there at the beginning. Apple arguably created the modern mobile app ecosystem with the App Store, but could it do it now if it was coming this late to the game? Even Microsoft couldn’t manage to break into mobile with its Windows Phone. Although perhaps not calling it ‘Windows’ would have helped. 

India could theoretically make its own phone mandatory by banning the alternatives, but there would still be a gap to bridge before apps were ready. 

And remember, India’s current mobile ecosystem already runs on the same apps and services we all use. Switching off payment and messaging platforms could be economically disastrous, for example. 

“In my view, however, the Indian government cannot compel its people to stop using Android and iOS-run phones, but they can advocate for the use of phones running on Indian-developed OS, giving them options to choose for a more secure system that will protect the interests of the state and of the people,” says Mendoza.

So while it is desirable, and—if all goes as well as possible—advantageous, to create and control the technology used by your country, it’s a very difficult task. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t give it a shot. And who knows? Maybe India’s phones and OS are so good that people outside the country decide to switch to them. At the very least, it would add a bit of diversity and competition to the powerful and somewhat moribund duopoly we have right now.

#India #Create #Phone

Why India Wants to Create Its Own Phone OS

Security, sovereignty, and control

Key Takeaways
India wants to create its own home-grown mobile operating system.
Relying on other countries’ tech for critical infrastructure is a security risk. 
Creating a new mobile OS is hard; getting people to switch might be even harder.
Shilajit D.C. / Unsplash

India’s government plans to create an ‘indigenous’ operating system (OS) to rival iOS and Android. 

Currently, there are only two alternatives for phone operating systems, both of which are controlled by US companies in California (iOS and Android). India wants a third, home-grown choice, and it also plans to grow its electronics manufacturing industry from $75 billion per year to $300 billion, which could include Indian-designed phones for the domestic market. India’s Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has announced a desire to mix things up. 

“Due to national security reasons, countries like India, for example, need to have their own OS as well as secure chips for sensitive applications. I think it is a good move that the Indian government has started investing in software engineering industries to come up with its own OS for the use of government employees, banks and financial institutions, space agencies, and other critical agencies that are vulnerable to state-sponsored hacking,” technology writer Victoria Mendoza told Lifewire via email. 

Security

The US government has already dealt with similar concerns. Recently it banned Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE from providing networking equipment. This measure is important for 5G mobile networks, which would otherwise run on hardware potentially under the control of the Chinese government. 

“Due to national security reasons, countries like India, for example, need to have their own OS as well as secure chips for sensitive applications.”

Looking at it that way, it’s easy to see why India, and perhaps other countries, would prefer to use a domestically-built operating system for phones and potentially also build the hardware to run it. Apple is already expanding its manufacturing in India, and the expertise learned there would help India’s plans. 

Not So Easy

Right now, the Indian government’s wishes are just that. 

According to the article in India’s Economic Times, the government has plans to create policies that will direct the creation of an “indigenous operating system.” It’s hard to get much more hand-wavy than that. 

But even if India manages to create a viable operating system, and hardware to run it on, there are still significant barriers. First, it will have to convince users not to use iPhones and Android phones. Given that our lives are almost inextricably tied up in our mobile computers, that’s a hugely difficult task already. There would have to be apps, which will only come if the platform is compelling, and enough people use it to make developing those apps worthwhile. It’s the classic chicken and egg problem.

“The problem of having a state-owned and separate OS is that many app developers as well companies will have to make separate apps and software compatible with the government initiated OS,” says Mendoza

Sayan Ghosh / Unsplash

Android and the iPhone avoided this largely by being there at the beginning. Apple arguably created the modern mobile app ecosystem with the App Store, but could it do it now if it was coming this late to the game? Even Microsoft couldn’t manage to break into mobile with its Windows Phone. Although perhaps not calling it ‘Windows’ would have helped. 

India could theoretically make its own phone mandatory by banning the alternatives, but there would still be a gap to bridge before apps were ready. 

And remember, India’s current mobile ecosystem already runs on the same apps and services we all use. Switching off payment and messaging platforms could be economically disastrous, for example. 

“In my view, however, the Indian government cannot compel its people to stop using Android and iOS-run phones, but they can advocate for the use of phones running on Indian-developed OS, giving them options to choose for a more secure system that will protect the interests of the state and of the people,” says Mendoza.

So while it is desirable, and—if all goes as well as possible—advantageous, to create and control the technology used by your country, it’s a very difficult task. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t give it a shot. And who knows? Maybe India’s phones and OS are so good that people outside the country decide to switch to them. At the very least, it would add a bit of diversity and competition to the powerful and somewhat moribund duopoly we have right now.

#India #Create #Phone


Synthetic: Vik News

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