Just a week after an Indian government official raised the possibility that the nation could create its own mobile operating system to challenge the dominance of Google and Apple, the minister of education and minister of human development skills and entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, demonstrated such an operating system to work and endorsed as the kind of India should do.

The operating system is called BharOS and was announced last week by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

The operating system comes with no preloaded apps and does not share any user data. Only private app stores work with the operating system.

Pradhan claimed that the operating system is incapable of running malware without elaboration.

JANDKOPS – the IIT Madras-incubated think tank that created the operating system – says it’s ideal for users who want to access private clouds over private 5G networks.

Pradhan praised the OS’s monopoly-breaking potential, while other speakers at the launch suggested it might be ideal for use by the Indian government as it could be customized.

Officials demonstrated the operating system using a pair of unspecified handsets, which successfully made a video.

It is said to be based on the Linux kernel, but beyond that few details have been revealed. Screenshots posted by JANDKOPS show the single-screen Android keyboard app, a shortcut to the DuckDuckGo search engine, and design elements that will look very familiar to users of Google’s mobile operating system.

The JANDKOPS site says the operating system is “currently provided to organizations that have strict security and privacy requirements,” which strongly suggests it’s already in use.

When The register covered India’s operating system ambitions last week, we reported that a planned operating system is called IndOS. BharOS is an equivalent name, as Bharat is the name for India in some of the country’s many languages.

Event officials hailed the OS as contributing to India’s AtmaNirbhar Bharat self-sufficiency campaign, adding that the country must also develop semiconductors, electronics manufacturing and other areas if it is to supply a homemade mobile ecosystem. They also mentioned the need to get developers excited about BharOS, before reiterating that India will continue to work towards technical independence.

The statement comes as Google fights a pair of antitrust cases in India. National competition authorities are seeking to make major changes to the Android ecosystem to prevent the advertising giant from dominating the mobile market.

In recent weeks, the antitrust case has been championed by Rohan Verma, CEO of digital mapping firm MapmyIndia, who has alleged that Google is making it difficult for Indian residents to access his company’s apps and accurate details of rural areas. Indians they offer.

Verma has been a strong supporter of India’s legal action against Google.

India has a love/hate relationship with Google. On the one hand, AtmaNirbhar Bharat seeks to create local alternatives to Big Tech and local sentiment opposes the market power of offshore companies.

On the other, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai – an Indian expat – in December 2022 as he pledged to invest more in India and unveil more localized Google services. ®

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