Is the Indian government hoping to bring a new mobile phone operating system to its home market? That appears to be the implication of a number of recent reports in the Indian press.
To put it more precisely the reports suggest that the government is planning to come up with a policy that will facilitate an ecosystem for the industry to create an indigenous operating system.
This has been supported by a statement by the Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who seems to be keen to promote an alternative to Google's Android and Apple's iOS, the dominant mobile phone operating systems worldwide.
He was quoted as saying that the Indian government is looking for capabilities within start-up and academic ecosystems for development of an indigenous OS – though possibly more in hope than anticipation.
As he put it, according to India’s Economic Times: "If there is some real capability then we will be very much interested in developing that area because that will create an alternative to iOS and Android, which then an Indian brand can grow.”
The context of this speculation was the publication of the second volume of the Vision Document on Electronics Manufacturing prepared by the industry body the India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA).
The document details a road map for achieving $300 billion electronics manufacturing in the country by 2026 from the current level of $75 billion.
But is an Indian OS part of the way forward? And is it over-ambitious? It’s hard to forget, after all, that India's locally developed next-generation standard, known as 5Gi, was quietly shelved in December – or, more precisely, merged with the 3GPP 5G standard.