A new report this morning reveals that India plans to force smartphone makers to allow removal of pre-installed apps and mandate screening of major operating system updates under proposed new security rules.
Reuters reports that the new rules could delay launch timelines in the world's No.2 smartphone market and lead to losses in business from pre-installed apps for players including Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and others.
India's IT ministry is considering these new rules amid concerns about spying and abuse of user data, said a senior government official. "Pre-installed apps can be a weak security point and we want to ensure no foreign nations, including China, are exploiting it. It's a matter of national security," the official added.
Currently, most smartphones come with pre-installed apps that cannot be deleted, such as Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's app store GetApps, Samsung's payment app Samsung Pay mini and iPhone maker Apple's browser Safari.
Under the new rules, smartphone makers will have to provide an uninstall option and new models will be checked for compliance by a lab authorized by the Bureau of Indian Standards agency, two people with knowledge of the plan said.
The government has decided to give smartphone makers a year to comply once the rule comes into effect, the date for which has not been fixed yet, the document added. For more, read the full Reuters report.
One has to wonder how much of India's new rules is really about security versus wanting to force smartphone OEM's to make it easier for Indian software to be dominate on future smartphones.