Indus OS

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

Indus OS (formerly known as Firstouch) is an Indian mobile operating system based on Android.[1] In India, the operating system has gained popularity, ranking above iOS, Windows, Tizen and only behind Android.[2] The operating system also has its own app market place called App Bazaar.[3]

The operating system is currently available in English and 12 Indian regional languages spoken by over 95% of the Indian population and has an active user base of over 7 million. Indus OS has partnered with the phone brands Micromax, Intex Technologies, Karbonn Mobiles, Celkon, Swipe, Elite and Trio Mobiles.[4]


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.[5] Hari Padmanabhan, an IIT Kanpur alumni, industry veteran and serial entrepreneur, is a seed investor in the company.


In January 2016, Indus OS received $5 Million in Series A funding which was led by Omidyar Network.[6] 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 [7] In March 2017, the company announced that it had raised Series A2 funding of an undisclosed amount with VenturEast and JSW Ventures as new investors, while the company's existing investor Omidyar Network also took part in the new round of funding.[4]

Firstouch OS[edit]

In May 2015, Micromax 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 was the company's patented 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.[8]

Collaboration with DeitY[edit]

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.[9]

Indus OS 2.0[edit]

Some of the patented features of Indus OS 2.0 are [10]

  • Word & Matra Prediction - Along with word prediction, the OS also predicts the Matra to capture vowel sounds in regional languages
  • Indus Reader - an OS integrated text to speech feature in 9 regional languages
  • Indus Messaging - This feature allows Indus OS users to send free text messages to other users
  • Hybrid Keyboard - This feature allows the users to type in a regional language using the English keyboard
  • Recharge 2.0 - Indus OS partnered with FreeCharge to introduce Recharge 2.0 that allows users to track data and calling usage and to recharge their prepaid connections using the FreeCharge Wallet [11]

The operating system's regional app marketplace, App Bazaar, is the fastest growing one in the world [12] App Bazaar 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.[13] App Bazaar currently has over 50000 applications in regional languages.[14]

The operating system currently features in English and 12 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.[5]


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]

Popular devices powered by Indus OS[edit]

  • Micromax Unite 3 [17]
  • Micromax Unite 4 Series
  • Intex Aqua Supreme+ [18]
  • Celkon Campus Pride [17]
  • Swipe Elite Star [19]

Key hires[edit]

Sunil Lalvani, former head of Qualcomm and BlackBerry in India recently joined Indus OS as an advisor.[20]

Employee strength and office locations[edit]

Indus OS has offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Dhaka and currently has a 70-member team.[21] The company also plans to open an office in China in an effort to partner with International smartphone brands.[22]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Indus OS won the Economic Times Telecom Award 2016 in the Innovation in Developing OEM Product category.[23] The company has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Government of India's DeitY (Department of Electronics and Information Technology) to develop text to speech technology in regional languages which will help deliver internet facility to users in their preferred regional language [24]

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.[25] This is a greater market share than Microsoft and Apple.[25] Android remains the most popular, with 82.3%.[25]

Indus OS was recently 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 recently won the 'Digital Startup of the Year Award' at the Drivers of Digital Awards 2016.[26]

NASSCOM announced Indus OS as one of the top 10 startups in India during the NASSCOM Product Conclave in 2016.[27] The company was also awarded the Aegis Graham Bell Award in the Digital India category alongside Vodafone India for the year 2016.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30]

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.[31]


  1. ^ Rao, Rajiv (2016-05-18). "Indus' Android-based OS races to become second most popular in India". ZDNet. Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  2. ^ "Indus OS - India's First Home-grown OS Takes #2 Spot". Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Shalini Pillai, "Firstouch rebrands to Indus OS, raises $5 million Series A led by Omidyar Network", "The Times of India", Jan 19, 2016
  4. ^ a b "Indus OS raises Series A2 funding". Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Gulveen Aulakh, "Firstouch rebrands to Indus OS, raises $5 million Series A led by Omidyar Network", "The Economic Times", Jan 19, 2016
  6. ^ Jon Russell, "Indus OS Raises $5M To Make Android Work For First-Time Smartphone Users In India", "Tech Crunch", Jan 18, 2016
  7. ^ "Indus OS - crunchbase". 
  8. ^ Harichandan Arakali, "India’s Micromax Taps Startup FirsTouch For Android In 10 Regional Languages", "", May 19, 2015
  9. ^, "Firstouch joins hands with DeitY for text-to-speech technology", "Firstouch joins hands with DeitY for text-to-speech technology"
  10. ^, "The Story of Indus OS: India's #2 Smartphone Platform", "The Story of Indus OS: India's #2 Smartphone Platform"
  11. ^ Danish Khan, "Indus OS partners FreeCharge to launch Recharge 2.0", "Indus OS partners FreeCharge to launch Recharge 2.0", Jan 12, 2017
  12. ^ Newskart Team, "Indus A Mobile Operating System Raises USD 5 Million Series A Funding Led By Omidyar Network", "", Jan 19, 2016
  13. ^ BI India Bureau, "Leaving behind Apple and Microsoft, Mumbai-based Indus OS takes second spot in smartphone operating system market", "", May 7, 2016
  14. ^, "Startups ring in local lingo, content", "Startups ring in local lingo, content"
  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. ^ a b, "Celkon to launch Campus Pride smartphone with Indus OS", "Celkon to launch Campus Pride smartphone with Indus OS"
  18. ^ BGR Website, "Intex Aqua Supreme+", "Intex Aqua Supreme Plus Product Specifications"
  19. ^ BGR Website, "Swipe Elite Star with Indus OS, 4G VoLTE support launched for Rs 3,333: Specifications and features", "Swipe Elite Star with Indus OS, 4G VoLTE support launched for Rs 3,333: Specifications and features"
  20. ^ Supraja Srinivasan, "Indus OS raises funds from VenturEast & JSW Ventures", "", Mar 30, 2017
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^, "Indus OS raises funds from JSW Ventures, VenturEast"
  23. ^ "ET Telecom Awards 2016 - The Economic Times". Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  24. ^ Alnoor Peermohamed, "Regional language-focused Indus OS wants to be on 100 mn smartphones by 2018", "Business Standard", Apr 6, 2016
  25. ^ a b c Rajiv Singh, "How Indus OS became the second largest smartphone operating system in India", "Economic Times Telecom", January 8, 2017
  26. ^ "Inkspell acknowledges the Digital front runners in India through Drivers of Digital Awards » The CEO Magazine". 4 October 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2016. 
  27. ^ Meha Agarwal, "Meet The Top 50 Emerging Indian Startups From Nasscom Emerge 50 2016 Awards", "INC42", Oct 27, 2016
  28. ^, "Aegis Graham Bell Awards 2016 Award Ceremony", "Aegis Graham Bell Awards"
  29. ^ Sumit Chakraberty, "Indus OS is India's best mobile innovation: GSMA", "Business Standard", Feb 23, 2017
  30. ^, "Indus OS Wins Brand of the Year Award", ""
  31. ^ Sanjay Gupta, "EmTech 2017: Innovators under 35", "", Mar 31, 2017