Indus OS

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Indus OS
Key people
  • Rakesh Deshmukh (CEO)
  • Akash Dongre (CPO)
  • Sudhir Bangarambandi (CTO)
ProductsIndus OS, App Bazaar

Indus OS (formerly known as Firstouch) is an Indian mobile operating system based on Android.[1]

It is currently available in English and 23 Indian regional languages spoken by over 95% of the Indian population and has an active user base of over 10 million. The company's app marketplace, App Bazaar[2] has over 400,000 apps. Indus OS has partnered with the phone brands Gionee, iTel, Micromax_Informatics, Intex Technologies, Karbonn Mobiles, Celkon, Swipe, Elite and Trio Mobiles.[3]


Indus OS was founded in 2015 by Rakesh Deshmukh, Akash Dongre and Sudheer B; all three are alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.[4] Hari Padmanabhan, an IIT Kanpur alumni, industry veteran and serial entrepreneur, is a seed investor in the company.

Indus OS has raised in total $13 Million in Series A funding which was led by Omidyar Network, JSW Ventures & VenturEast.[5] The company is also funded among others by angel investors Mayank Singhal from Temasek Holdings; Pranay Chulet, founder of Quikr; Amit Gupta and Naveen Tewari, co-founders of InMobi; Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, co-founders of Snapdeal [6]

Firstouch OS[edit]

In May 2015, Micromax_Informatics started shipping the latest version (Unite 3) of its Unite series smartphones with Firstouch OS. The operating system was available in English and 10 Indian languages. A key feature of the operating system is the Swipe-to-translate or Indus Swipe which helped users to translate or transliterate English text in regional languages. The operating system also had its own app marketplace' App Bazaar with over 5000 applications in regional languages. A popular application on the marketplace is Microsoft's Skype which is available in popular Indian regional languages including Hindi.[7]

In December 2015, Firstouch announced a collaboration with the Government of India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology previously known as the Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) to introduce text-to-speech technology in regional languages.[8][9]

Indus OS 2.0[edit]

The operating system's regional app marketplace, App Bazaar,[10] has integrated carrier billing facility and hence it allows users to download apps in their regional languages without requiring them to have an email id or paying by credit cards. Over 90% of Indus OS users have activated App Bazaar on their smartphones and over 75% use it on a monthly basis.[11] App Bazaar has over 50000 applications in regional languages.[12]

The operating system features in English and 23 other regional languages: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. The company's patented keyboard allows word prediction, matra prediction, auto correction and swipe-to-translate & transliterate features to its users.[4]

Indus OS has offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Dhaka and currently has a 70-member team.[13] The company also plans to open an office in China in an effort to partner with International smartphone brands.[14]


The operating system received a positive review from Firstpost's Tech2 where Rehan Hooda in his review of the Intex Aqua Supre+ claimed that "Indus OS is the only shining factor in an otherwise ordinary smartphone".[15]

Abhishek Baxi from Android Authority in his review of the operating system said "Unlike stock Android and other custom Android skins with support for Indian languages, in Indus OS, menu items, icon texts, et al too appear in the chosen regional language" and "The big win of the App Bazaar is the support for carrier billing, allowing users to download paid apps and games via their mobile balance (pre-paid) or get billed for it (post-paid). It’s mighty convenient for consumers and a great motivator for app developers and publishers".[16]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Indus OS won the Economic Times Telecom Award 2016 in the Innovation in Developing OEM Product category.[17]

On May 7, 2016, Indus OS was declared the second most popular OS in India according to a research study conducted by Counterpoint Research. As of May 2016, the OS was the second most popular in India, with a 7.6% market share.[18] This is a greater market share than Microsoft and Apple.[18] Android remains the most popular, with 82.3%.[18]

Indus OS was awarded the prestigious TiE50 (Silicon Valley) Top Start-Up Award for the year 2016 and ET Telecom Award 2016 for 'Innovation and Development OEM Product'.[citation needed]

Indus OS won the 'Digital Startup of the Year Award' at the Drivers of Digital Awards 2016.[19]

NASSCOM announced Indus OS as one of the top 10 startups in India during the NASSCOM Product Conclave in 2016.[20] The company was also awarded the Aegis Graham Bell Award in the Digital India category alongside Vodafone India for the year 2016.[21]

GSMA nominated Indus OS for its annual Global Mobile Awards at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona 2017 in the category of Best Mobile Innovation for Emerging Markets.[22]

Indus OS won the Brand of the Year award in the Technology category by World Consulting and Research Corporation in Mumbai on December 21, 2016.[23]

Mint (newspaper) and MIT Technology Review named Akash Dongre, the Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Indus OS as one of the top innovators under the age of 35 from India at the EmTech 2017 event.[24]

Indus OS has also been named as the SuperBrand's Super Startups which is awarded to the 30+ most innovative business models from India.[25]

In October 2017, Indus OS was awarded the Confederation of Indian Industry Industrial Innovation Award as one of the Top 10 Startup from India.[26]

The company's story was also documented as a case study by Ivey Publishing and is also distributed by Harvard Business Review.[27]


  1. ^ Rao, Rajiv (2016-05-18). "Indus' Android-based OS races to become second most popular in India". ZDNet. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  2. ^ Shalini Pillai, "Firstouch rebrands to Indus OS, raises $5 million Series A led by Omidyar Network", "The Times of India", Jan 19, 2016
  3. ^ "Indus OS raises $4 million from existing investors". Retrieved 22 Dec 2017.
  4. ^ a b Gulveen Aulakh, "Firstouch rebrands to Indus OS, raises $5 million Series A led by Omidyar Network", "The Economic Times", Jan 19, 2016
  5. ^ Salman SH, "Indus OS raises $4 million from existing investors", "Livemint", Dec 22, 2017
  6. ^ "Indus OS - crunchbase".
  7. ^ Harichandan Arakali, "India’s Micromax Taps Startup FirsTouch For Android In 10 Regional Languages", "", May 19, 2015
  8. ^, "Firstouch joins hands with DeitY for text-to-speech technology", "Firstouch joins hands with DeitY for text-to-speech technology"
  9. ^ Alnoor Peermohamed, "Regional language-focused Indus OS wants to be on 100 mn smartphones by 2018", "Business Standard", Apr 6, 2016
  10. ^ Newskart Team, "Indus A Mobile Operating System Raises USD 5 Million Series A Funding Led By Omidyar Network", "", Jan 19, 2016
  11. ^ BI India Bureau, "Leaving behind Apple and Microsoft, Mumbai-based Indus OS takes second spot in smartphone operating system market", "", May 7, 2016
  12. ^, "Startups ring in local lingo, content", "Startups ring in local lingo, content"
  13. ^ Nandgopal Rajan, "Indus OS, the Indian operating system with more installs than iOS", "Indus OS, the Indian operating system with more installs than iOS", Jun 27, 2016
  14. ^, "Indus OS raises funds from JSW Ventures, VenturEast"
  15. ^ Rehan Hooda, "Intex Aqua Supreme+ review: Indus OS is the only shining factor in this otherwise ordinary smartphone", "Intex Aqua Supreme+ review: Indus OS is the only shining factor in this otherwise ordinary smartphone", Apr 10, 2017
  16. ^ Abhishek Baxi, "Everything you wanted to know about Indus OS, world’s first regional operating system", "Everything you wanted to know about Indus OS, world’s first regional operating system", Nov 26, 2016
  17. ^ "ET Telecom Awards 2016 - The Economic Times". Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  18. ^ a b c Rajiv Singh, "How Indus OS became the second largest smartphone operating system in India", "Economic Times Telecom", January 8, 2017
  19. ^ "Inkspell acknowledges the Digital front runners in India through Drivers of Digital Awards » The CEO Magazine". 4 October 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  20. ^ Meha Agarwal, "Meet The Top 50 Emerging Indian Startups From Nasscom Emerge 50 2016 Awards", "INC42", Oct 27, 2016
  21. ^, "Aegis Graham Bell Awards 2016 Award Ceremony", "Aegis Graham Bell Awards"
  22. ^ Sumit Chakraberty, "Indus OS is India's best mobile innovation: GSMA", "Business Standard", Feb 23, 2017
  23. ^, "Indus OS Wins Brand of the Year Award", ""
  24. ^ Sanjay Gupta, "EmTech 2017: Innovators under 35", "", Mar 31, 2017
  25. ^, "SuperStartUps awards 30+ innovative business models", ""
  26. ^, "CII recognizes top innovative cos & startups for 2017", ""
  27. ^, "CII recognizes top innovative cos & startups for 2017", ""