Almost 70 per cent of smartphones based on Android Open Source Projects run Google’s environment (known as simply Android), some with partner-customised user interfaces and software suites. Principally, the Operating System (OS) is known as Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and is Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) primarily licenced under the Apache Licence. Yet most devices run and operate on the exclusive Android version developed by Google, which comes with added branded closed-source software pre-installed, most notably Google Mobile Services (GMS). This includes core apps such as Google Chrome, the digital distribution platform Google Play, and the associated Google Play Services development platform. While AOSP is free, the “Android” name and logo are trademark brands of Google, which enforces standards to confine the use of Android branding by “uncertified” devices external and Co-auxiliary to their ecosystem.
Users In Trouble
On December 14, 2020, Google’s online services suffered disruption. The outage lasted almost 45 minutes across all Google services, with users unable and incapacitated to log in. Users had confronted the underlying crisis and impending problems with all Google services and could not access Gmail, YouTube and Google Docs during the global outage. Most of the requisite services are now back online and are operating appropriately.
Google had a clear monopoly on the mobile search engine market across India, with a share of 99.29 per cent as of May, 2020.
BharOS will be a significant building block for a secure and indigenous mobile ecosystem. Additionally, creating a robust data governance policy to safeguard and boost the political economy of digital assets
According to data from the Reston, Virginia-based digital marketing intelligence firm Comscore, Gmail’s market penetration in India stands at 62 per cent, the highest in the world. In India, Google Play has topped around 94 per cent market share and accounts for 360 million unique visitors accredited to it, according to Comscore data released in August, 2020. This implies that Bharat has to reduce and rationalise its dependence on google. Democratic countries like India cannot afford this risk of misuses and exposure of the citizens’ mobile phones which can harm them individually as well as the whole country’s security, safety, transparency and peace.
BharOS is a mobile operating system which imparts and extends to Bharatiya users freedom, control, self-operation and flexibility to pick the apps which suit and match their requirements and priority. BharOS assures to transform how users consider security and privacy on their mobile sets.
Benefit For Indian Users
Mobile manufacturers ship handsets with pre-installed Google apps and some built-in apps. BharOS comes with No Default Apps (NDA). NDA means that Bharatiya users will have complete control on their handset’s storage space, unlike Android. With BharOS, Bharatiya users won’t be forced and coerced to use mobile apps which they don’t want.
BharOS provides ‘Native Over Air (NOTA) updates, similar to Android handsets. NOTA software updates are automatically downloaded and installed on the handset; no manual intervention is needed. Besides, BharOS will provide and comfort an ecosystem of trusted mobile apps Private App Store Services (PASS). BharOS’s PASS offers access to a selected list of mobile apps meticulously scrutinised and passed organisations’ pre-defined security and privacy criteria. This ensures and guarantees Bharatiya users that their mobile apps are harmless and stand scrutinised for any probable security liabilities or privacy fears. Notwithstanding, BharOS is presently being provided to only those establishments which have strict privacy and underlying security necessities and requisite features like whose users handle sensitive information which necessitates confidential communications on restricted apps on mobiles.”
BharOS looks worthy, but there are no specifics and details on what all features Bharatiya users will get to make their day-to-day life easier. Android provides personalisation possibilities, privacy landscapes, battery analysis, home screen widgets, notification settings, and more. Bharat needs to get and extend more clarity and alacrity on this when it is available for everyone.
Politics (e.g. Controlling public opinion) and economics (e.g. enforcing companies to invest locally in data centres and data processing) shape the digital policies of a country. In the era of ongoing information war, indigenous and independent digital infrastructure is a must. India has to firm up its stance and combat the Information war. This is Bharat’s first step towards “Active defence” in the ongoing Information war.
In the last five years, the Digital India programme has driven rapid technology implementation in the country. Some of the top digital technologies supported programmes which have engaged huge space in e-governance model include Aadhaar expansion, Direct Benefit Transfer, Common Services Centres, DigiLocker, mobile-based UMANG services, participatory governance through-MyGov and Jeevan-Pramaan. Similarly, easy access to e-government schemes, like Ayushman Bharat, e-Hospital, PM-Kisan, e-NAM, Soil Health Cards, National Scholarship Portal, and e-Pathshala, have taken better governance to remote areas. Thus, BharOS should get integrated with other building blocks of the Digital India programme.
In the post-COVID-19 world order, with the increase in the physical divide and decrease in the digital divide, the country which controls the digital ecosystem will lead the world. Bharat has the entrepreneurial nimbleness of the U.S. and, to a limited extent, Western Europe’s capable public finance systems. Still, Bharat must invest big money into artificial intelligence (A.I.) and digital dominance. As per the International Telecom Union (ITU), global internet penetration is approximately 50 percent. The GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) and BATX (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi) dominate the internet, thus the mobile ecosystem.
In conclusion, to build “AatamNirbhar Bharat” digitally, the Indian Government’s flagship Program-Digital India, has prepared a strong base. BharOS will be a significant building block for a secure and indigenous mobile ecosystem. Additionally, creating a robust data governance policy to safeguard and boost the political economy of digital assets while ensuring the availability of data to the local AI industry, will enable Bharat to realise the “Aatamanirbharatha” in all sectors.