According to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT sector, the Indian government plans to come up with a policy that will create an alternative operating system to Android and iOS. On Monday, he stated that mobile phones are currently dominated by two operating systems — Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS — driving the hardware ecosystems, according to a report from The Economic Times. He further suggested that the policy will facilitate an ecosystem for the industry to create indigenous operating systems as an alternative to iOS and Android.
“There is no third one. Therefore, in many ways, there is tremendous interest in MeitY [Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology] 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.
Minister also implies that the government is also looking for capabilities amongst startups and academic ecosystems to develop this native operating system. The Government of India is also very much interested in acquiring an alternative operating system. As of now, goals are still unclear, according to the minister, and the Indian government is reimagining these goals, which include developing a new alternative OS. The policies creation will be based on these new goals, and the actions taken based on those goals will be consistent.
It is not the first time we have seen alternative operating systems for Android and iOS. Samsung had Bada OS before releasing Android phones. Windows phones were running Windows operating systems, which later introduced Android and discontinued the mobiles altogether. Reliance Jio phones in India run on KaiOS; however, the company has again partnered with Google to run a customised Android version for its JioPhone Next affordable smartphone. Due to the inevitable trade ban from the US on Huawei, the company had to create an alternative operating system called Harmony OS, which is currently workable.
Another example is Blackberry OS, which was a gold standard for mobile phones before iOS-based Apple iPhones, and Android-based smartphones were released into the market. Another instance is from Palm; these are a few who tried to create rivals for Android and iOS, which eventually failed or adapted to Android.
And now, the Indian government’s plans to rely on startup and educational ecosystems to develop operations appears to be promising and optimistic. But, the ecosystems created by Android and iOS are vast worldwide. Those are not just ecosystems but a collaboration of brands, developers, and consumers deeply rooted in them. It’ll be interesting to see whether India could pull off in making the third intuitive operating system and lure the aforementioned collaboration in adapting to it.