Micromax is launching its own fork of Android

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2015 12:36 IST

Micromax, currently the number 2 phone brand in India with 2 million smartphones sold a month, wants to launch its own operating system for its devices.

Micromax is not building its own operating system from scratch In that world dominated by Android and iOS, that would be suicide (see what happened to BlackBerry OS 10 and Windows Phone). Instead, just like rival Xiaomi, it is forking Android and then slapping on its own suite of services and apps that will run across its phones, tabelts, television sets and wearables, reports the Economic Times. Micromax co-founder Vikas Jain told ET that the first smartphones with the new operating system will be available by the the end of this financial year.

Why is Micromax doing this? To differentiate itself in the Indian smartphone market that is quickly getting flooded with brands. In the last six months alone, almost a dozen brands -- from Phicomm to Meizu -- have launched devices in India. Hardware is a commodity and the software.

Agrawal said the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Xiaomi, which have their own OS across platforms, are translating what they have done internationally to India. In contrast, Micromax is closer to the Indian consumer and therefore has a better understanding of the local market and insights based on which it will build the customer experience.

Agrawal told the ET that while Apple, Microsoft and Xiaomi have their own operating system across platforms, they are translating what they have doner internatioanally to India, while Microsoft can do this better since it has a better understanding of the local market.

Customising software for the local market has, indeed, given companies like Xiaomi a leg-up in India. In its recently launched MIUI 7 operating system, for instance, the company includes multiple Indian themes and a made-for-India feature called Visual IVR, that integrates with the Indian railways, banks and more to easily let users navigate voice-based menus.

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