(Bloomberg) – India has unveiled a mobile operating system, developed at one of its top engineering schools, which it says is more secure than Alphabet Inc.’s Android and designed to be used in businesses and highly secure environments.

BharOS, short for Bharat, or India, OS, does not come with any default apps and allows users to access only trusted apps from private store services. “It is a Linux-based operating system,” Prof. V. Kamakoti, director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, said in a phone interview.

The local operating system is another step towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of being self-sufficient in everything from 5G telecommunications equipment to chip factories. India’s poor will be the main beneficiaries of this digital infrastructure, Federal Education and Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said at the unveiling.

BharOS comes at a time when India has fined Google $160 million in an antitrust case, which accused the company of abusing its dominant market position for its Android mobile operating system. The country’s competition watchdog has also asked the US tech giant to take measures such as allowing smartphone users to uninstall certain apps and let them use their preferred search engine.

Certainly, BharOS faces a daunting task in a market dominated by Android, which powers around 97% of India’s 620 million smartphones. The remaining devices use Apple’s iOS.

©2023 Bloomberg LP

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