- Developed at one of the top engineering colleges in India, BharOSis claimed to be more secure than Alphabet Inc’s Android operating system.
- BahrOS is apparently designed to be used in businesses and highly secured environments, with no built-in default apps, allowing users to access only trusted apps from private shopping services.
A week ago, Google lost to Alphabet Inc her bid to the Supreme Court of India to block an antitrust order that would force the tech giant to change the business model of its popular Android operating system (OS). The Indian Competition Commission has ordered Google that the license of the Play Store “will not be linked to the requirement of pre-installation” of Google search services – the Chrome browser, YouTube or other Google applications.
Last year, the tech giant was found guilty by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) of abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile device ecosystem and the operation of the Play Store. Therefore, CCI ordered Google to allow the removal of those apps for Android phone users in India. Not only that, the search engine giant was also instructed to make other significant changes, such as allowing third-party app stores to be sold on Google Play.
Other changes include allowing users to choose a default search engine other than Google when setting up a device; cessation of payments to mobile phone manufacturers to ensure search exclusivity; and not deny access to Android APIs to developers who build apps that run on Android forks, and allow such forks. On top of all the orders given, so was Google slapped with a $162 million fine.
The fine is not really a problem, in fact it is a small amount compared to what the company earns. The real problem according to Google’s argument is the fact that India’s requirements are hurting the Android ecosystem and thereby penalizing India. On the other hand, India already came up with an alternative, or as many say, “a rival to Android OS”.
BharOS vs Android OS
Basically, the BharOS is an Indian government funded project to provide a free and open source operating system for use in government and public systems. Developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT), the project aims to reduce dependence on foreign operating systems in smartphones and promote the use of locally developed technology. For India in particular, creating an indigenous ecosystem and a self-sufficient future is a huge step forward.
The country’s Minister of Communications, Electronics and Information Technology and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had tested the locally made operating system on Tuesday. Apparently, BharOS services are currently being delivered to organizations that have strict privacy and security requirements and whose users handle sensitive information that requires confidential communication on restricted mobile phone apps. That group of users are the ones who need to access private cloud services via private 5G networks.
— Ashwini Vaishnaw (@AshwiniVaishnaw) January 24, 2023
BharOS also comes with No Default Apps (NDA), which means users are not forced to use apps they may not be familiar with or trust. With such an approach, users simply have more control over the permissions that apps have on their device, as they can choose to allow only apps they trust to access certain functions or data on their device.
According to Karthik Ayyar, the director of JandK Operations Pvt Ltd, the start-up that developed this mobile operating system, a rival to Android, “Moreover, BharOS offers ‘Native Over The Air’ (NOTA) updates that can help keep the devices secure. NOTA updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the device, without the user having to start the process manually.” That basically ensures that the device is always running the latest version of the operating system, including the latest security patches and bug fixes.
“With NDA, PASS and NOTA, BharOS ensures Indian mobile phones are reliable.” noted Karthik. For context, BharOS provides access to trusted apps from organization-specific Private App Store Services (PASS). A PASS provides access to a curated list of apps that have been thoroughly vetted and meet certain organizational security and privacy standards.