Dubbed BharOS, the OS, based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), was built by the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras and funded by the Indian government.
The OS lacks default apps but has stronger privacy safeguards. Developers can also collaborate with device manufacturers to roll out BharOS for mainstream release, with the ability to side-load apps.
Nityesh Bhatt, chairperson and professor from the Institute of Management at Nirma University, said as the value proposition of BharOS is security and privacy, “it may be immensely beneficial for many government, educational, research and commercial organisations with stringent integrity and confidentiality requirements”.
He added that the OS is also in line with the government’s efforts to build its own technology stack, known as the India Stack, a set of open application programming interfaces (APIs) and digital public goods that aim to unlock the economic primitives of identity data and payments at scale in the country.
Devroop Dhar, co-founder of Primus Partners, a consulting firm, said with Android and iOS app revenues having reached $133 billion in 2021, developing an indigenous OS is a step in the right direction to support India’s rapidly digitalising economy and technology-led citizen initiatives.
However, it does have a few issues before it will see widescale adoption. It is basically another flavour of Android, which has tons of alternatives in the market and it lacks much in the way of a killer reason to be adopted.
There are also issues about updates and its access to a software ecosystem.