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Everything you need to know about India’s Android competitor, BharOS.

Google has just acknowledged that it is willing to work with CCI, but it is also under a great deal of scrutiny due to its monopoly in the smartphone operating system market, where it forces its own apps as the default services on Android devices. Now, IIT-Madras has created a new operating system known as BharOS, which is expected to benefit India’s 100 crore smartphone users by providing a more secure and private mobile operating system.

Can BharOS compete with Android from Google? How different is BharOS from Google’s Android, and is it truly secure to use in this day and age? Since the announcement of BharOS, we’ve endeavoured to respond to all of your inquiries.

What exactly is BharOS?

BharOS is an Android Open Source Project (AOSP)-based operating system that lacks Google apps and services. It was developed by JandK Operations Private Limited (JandKops), an IIT Madras-incubated non-profit company.

This depicts the BharOS user interface (Image credit: IIT Madras)

How is BharOS different from Android?

BharOS is technically not that different from Android’s Google OS. It is based on the AOSP, in fact (Android Open Source Project). The primary distinction between BharOS and Google’s Android OS is that BharOS will not have Google services and will be a bare-bones operating system that allows users to instal programmes of their choosing.

While BharOS is known as an indigenous operating system, it is still based on AOSP; therefore, its functionality and user interface are comparable to those of Google’s stock Android. In addition, BharOS does not include any pre-built applications. The absence of pre-installed programmes will allow users to sideload their preferred application. However, sideloading an APK may jeopardise the security of the device and make it more susceptible to hacking.

It is yet unknown how BharOS can replace a pre-installed operating system. Does it involve bootloader unlocking, which could jeopardise the security of the device further? How long will the operating system continue to get software and security updates? These are the questions that the BharOS developer should address.

It is also interesting to note that the current version of BharOS uses third-party browsers and messaging programmes such as DuckDuckGo and Signal. Also intriguing is whether the team that developed BharOS will join with OEM to launch BharOS-powered phones.

How to instal BharOS on a mobile device.

There is currently no information regarding when the BharOS will be downloadable. In contrast to Windows OS, a single build of BharOS cannot be loaded on all Android phones; therefore, the BharOS team must optimise the operating system for each smartphone model to ensure that it runs well. Consequently, the BharOS may only be accessible for limited phones at launch.

Despite the fact that the BharOS team mentions the need for an app-store-like service, it remains to be seen if they would partner with an existing provider or build one from scratch. Flashing BharOS onto an Android smartphone may require unlocking the bootloader and installing a custom recovery image when it becomes available.

When will BharOS be made available?

There are currently no definite facts regarding the release date of BharOS. According to reports, a wider rollout could take some time.

Will BharOS power your future smartphone?

There is currently no confirmation of which phones will support BharOS. In the following days, the business is anticipated to cooperate with key Android OEMs to launch BharOS-powered smartphones. BharOS is rumoured to be compatible with Google Pixel devices, although developers have yet to clarify which models will be supported.

Is BharOS superior to Android?

Developers of BharOS assert that BharOS is superior to Android and iOS in terms of features and security. In addition, they assert that BharOS could extend the battery life of the gadget. It will also allow users to instal apps of their choosing and will include an app store centred in India.

Can BharOS run Android apps?

Yes, BharOS is an Android-based operating system with a private app store and the ability to sideload third-party applications. However, a few apps that require Google Play Services would not work on a BharOS-powered smartphone.

Can BharOS compete with Android?

No, it cannot replace Android OS just yet. Although it could be an alternative to Android and iOS, it still has a long way to go and needs OEM and user support for its acceptance.

Will BharOS be compatible with Google Play?

BharOS will not support Google Play Services, as its primary purpose is to provide an alternative smartphone operating system without the Google Play store or Google Play services.

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