RUSSIA is planning to create its own smartphone operating system in an effort to reduce its dependence on Western technology.
Russian financial newspaper RBC reports that the country's minister of communications, Nikolai Nikiforov, announced plans this week to lessen the country's reliance on Android and iOS with the development of a national operating system based on Sailfish, an open source mobile operating system developed by Finnish phone maker Jolla.
Nikiforov told RBC that he wants to see the use of non-Russian mobile operating systems dropped to just 50 percent by 2025. At present, Android accounts for 81 percent of the country's mobile market share, according to Gartner, while iOS accounts for 15 percent.
Sailfish currently accounts for 0.5 percent of Russia's mobile market, less than that claimed by BlackBerry and Windows Phone.
As well as looking to reduce the country's dependence on Western technology, Russia wants smartphone software that it knows it can trust, and that it knows can't be infiltrated by the likes of the US National Security Agency.
This is unsurprising. A year ago, Apple and SAP refused to disclose their source code to the Russian government, which wanted to determine whether the US government had included backdoors in the software, as Edward Snowden had claimed.
Nikiforov said at the time: "It is obvious that the companies that disclose the source code of their programs [are] not hiding anything. But those who do not intend to cooperate with Russia on this issue may have undeclared capabilities in their products."
According to the report, Russia is looking to persuade other nations, including Brazil, China, India and South Africa, to help out with the project.
Nikiforov told RBC that he hopes to create an "international consortium” that will include IT companies from each nation, saying: "IT companies will provide their experts, and their time will be paid for by their respective states, giving them the opportunity to work on this project."
Separate reports claim that Chinese phone maker Huawei is also looking to lessen its reliance on Google's Android software with the development of its own so-called Kirin OS.
This software, according to Gizmo China, has been in development for three years, and will come optimised for Huawei's Kirin chips. µ
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