In a move to reduce its dependence on Western technology and ensure mobile security, the Russian government is planning to create its own smartphone operating system that will replace the country’s use of Android and iOS systems.
Russian minister of communication Nikolai Nikiforov said that the country will be developing a national OS based on Sailfish, an open source mobile operating system developed by Finnish phone maker Jolla.
Nikiforov hopes that such an OS can drop dependence to its Western counterparts, Android and iOS, by 50 per cent by 2025.
In addition to mere Western dependence, also part of Russia’s goal is to have an OS that cannot be infiltrated by the likes of the US National Security Agency. Previously, tech firms Apple and SAP refused to disclose their source code to the Russian government, who wanted to determine whether the US government had included backdoors in their software.
This prompted Nikiforov to say: “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.”
Russia is said to be considering trying to persuade other nations – including Brazil, China, India and South Africa – to help out with the project, and to create an international consortium composed of IT companies from each nation, which will be paid for by its respective states.
Android currently accounts for 81 per cent of the country’s mobile market share, according to Gartner, while iOS accounts for 15 per cent.