The Indian government is planning to incentivize the creation of an “indigenous” mobile operating system to rival iOS and Android, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has announced (via The Economic Times).
The proposal, announced on Monday by Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, will encourage the technology industry to create a homegrown Indian mobile OS. The new OS is explicitly intended to “create an alternative to iOS and Android” in India. Chandrasekhar noted that iOS and Android drive the development of hardware ecosystems, which is something that the government hopes the new platform will mirror, giving an Indian brand space to grow.
The Indian government is in the process of looking for suitable startups and academic institutions that are capable of developing a new OS. Detailed discussions are currently focusing on establishing clear goals for the project, which will be followed by legislation to target specific development aims. Chandrasekhar hinted that start-ups and companies working on an Indian OS may be attractive to domestic and foreign investment when raising capital.
The project fits in with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aim to create domestic leaders across multiple industries and product categories, as well as bolster the country’s technology industry. The Indian government has unveiled a roadmap to achieve $300 billion worth of electronics manufacturing in the country by 2026, up from $75 billion currently. Likewise, the country hopes to achieve $120 billion in electronics exports, up from $15 billion at present.
India is an increasingly important market to Apple, but it continues to face fierce competition from Android devices in the country. Apple has steadily increased the number of its devices manufactured in India, with up to 70 percent of all iPhones sold in the country being made there.
Following the launch of the Apple’s online store in India in 2020, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 were believed to be the bestselling smartphones in India. Mass production of the iPhone 13 in India is set to start next month and the country’s first retail store is also on the way.