Indus OS, an Indic mobile Operating System (OS) has partnered with mobile manufacturer Karbonn Mobiles to load Indus OS on Karbonn’s smartphones.
However, it is not clear if all Karbonn phones will come loaded with Indus OS, or just selected models. We have sough clarification from Indus for this. A spokesperson from the company clarified that Karbonn will load Indus OS in selected models only.
Previously, Indus OS has partnered with mobile manufacturers like Micromax, Celkon and Swipe in India and Elite in Bangladesh to run on some of their models. It currently claims to have over 4.5 million users and a 6.3% market share in India. The first official Indus OS powered device was launched in May 2015.
Indus OS is basically a customized operating system built on top of Android and currently supports 12 regional languages including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Assamese. The OS also offers an app store like Google Play with over 15,000 apps.
The operating system features a patented ‘Indus keyboard’ extension for typing. It also offers an auto-correction option and a patented matra-prediction feature in 12 languages. In addition, Indus OS tied up with the Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) to introduce an integrated text-to-speech feature in 6 regional languages.
Rebranding and Fundraise
Indus OS was earlier known as ‘FirstTouch’; it rebranded to its new name in January and raised $5 million in a round of funding led by Omidyar Network. The company said that it would use the money to invest in technology, hiring and for expanding into international markets. It had previously closed an angel round led by various technology entrepreneurs and investors.
Indic Languages on phones
The Bureau of Indian Standards said in June that it is mandatory for all mobile handsets being manufactured or sold in the country, to come loaded with multi- Indic language support. The department of telecom (DoT) had looked into the proposal in early February.
The BIS notification said that a minimum of 4MB memory on all phones shall be reserved for Indic language support, out of which 2MB should be reserved for official Indian languages support. Devices should also support text readability in 14 scripts and 22 official languages, other than being able to support text input in English, Hindi and at least one other Indian language.
Several Indic Language initiatives have been introduced since 2015 by many local companies like BookMyShow, Snapdeal, Quikr, Hike, Khan Academy, among others, as well as foreign companies like Google, Facebook and Alibaba.