Russia unveils own 'almost Android' system

Aug 31, 2012 by Dmitry Zaks
Vladimir Putin (left) and Anatoly Chubais, general director of RusNano state corporation, look at a tablet PC screen. It seems Russia's defence ministry doesn't trust Google's tablet computers: a new Android device boasts encryption and works with software and a global positioning system made in Russia.

It seems that Russia's defence ministry has little faith in Google's operating systems: it has just unveiled its own encrypted version that has the remarkably familiar feel of an Android.

Russia's very first smart prototype was presented on the sidelines of a Berlin electronics show this week to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin—an avowed nationalist who oversees the military's technological innovation.

A slimmed down version of the operating system in computer tablet form is actually meant to go public by the end of the year at a cost of 15,000 rubles ($460) a pop.

But it would hardly be a defence gadget with consumer appeal. Developers at the ministry's Central Scientific Research Institute said their main client is—and will probably always be—the state and its top brass.

"The military version will be shock- and water-proof," Russian media quoted production unit director Andrei Starikovsky as telling Rogozin at the presentation.

"The operating system has all the functional capabilities of an Android operating system but none of its hidden features that send users' private data to Google headquarters," the researcher stressed.

Russia's top officials have been unnerved by the idea that data collected and stored for years in Google databases could slip into the hands of the US government and expose some of their most secret and sensitive communications.

Similar fears have already driven other expensive military projects with rewards for the masses that come primarily as an afterthought.

One such invention is GLONASS—a rival of the Global Position System (GPS) meant to help generals train their missiles on targets without relying on a US system that could be shut down as a precaution at any point.

GLONASS suffered through initial delays and some satellite crashes but was eventually included in the software of Apple's latest iPhone.

But the latest defence project is not entirely an echo of the Cold War.

It is run out of a military research facility but privately funded.

And its developers say that the operating system has been in the works for five whole years for the simple reason that Russians—mostly those who run ministries and firms such as the state energy behemoth Gazprom—have little trust in Google's security.

"They are not afraid of Google or the US government stealing things per se. They are afraid of leaks in general," the operating system's project manager Dmitry Mikhailov told AFP.

"There is nothing like this operating system on the market. It is hack-proof," Mikhailov claimed. "There are people who are clamouring for this."

Analysts question whether Russia has enough super-wealthy clients that treasure their records so much they are willing to pay premium prices for a services that in some cases are available elsewhere for free.

"The devil is in the details. If this is purely a defence ministry project, it is doomed," said Russian parliament member and professional IT specialist Ilya Ponomaryov.

"But if this is a completely new operating system made by and for the market, its prospects are as good as anyone else's," Ponomaryov told AFP.

Dmitry Konovalov of the Institute of Strategic Assessment said simply that he thought the tablet "only makes military sense. It makes no commercial sense at all."

But project manager Mikhailov said his company had plenty of pre-orders ahead of the system's release date that promised profits down the line.

"It can go on smartphones as well," he added.

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Minich
5 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2012
A major concern for Russian defence chiefs is that data collected and stored by Google could slip into the hands of the US government and expose some of their most secret and sensitive communications.
A major concern for the US government is that Google data can be easely mystefied by our russian counter-intelligence agents with an excellent russian mathematical education :)
DarkHorse66
1 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2012

A threat to Google's/US gov's dominance.
Oh dear.
Can't have that!!!

(facetious/smirk mode all the way...)

Cheers, DH66
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2012
"The operating system has all the functional capabilities of an Android operating system but none of its hidden features that send users' private data to Google headquarters,"

"...but it does have hidden features that send users' private data to the Kremlin"

He didn't say it - but somehow I'm hearing it.
DarkHorse66
2 / 5 (4) Aug 31, 2012
"The operating system has all the functional capabilities of an Android operating system but none of its hidden features that send users' private data to Google headquarters,"

"...but it does have hidden features that send users' private data to the Kremlin"
He didn't say it - but somehow I'm hearing it.

"What 'he' said" Yeah right. Are we really that naive? What's to say that the US DOESN'T already have a similar kind of arrangement on the quiet? After all, they are just as good (and just as keen) as the Kremlin to collect and correlate private data. The only difference is that it is passed off/disguised as conserving the interests of national security....
Cheers, DH66

Minich
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2012
A threat to Google's/US gov's dominance.
Oh dear.
Can't have that!!!

(facetious/smirk mode all the way...)

Cheers, DH66
Cheers, why not? I love my Russia and can do anything for my homeland :)
I already have something made with my own hands being best in the world. For example laser guidance systems for missile defense :)
Best in the world in 1975. Cannon Big Bertha Laser. Before SDI of Reagan :)
Minich
3 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2012
Anatoly Chubais, general director of RusNano state corporation is famous for failing any deal (privatization, all Russia energy programm, Sayano-Shushenskaya Hpp breakdown, sixth in the world with more than 70 casualties, 245 meters high, 3200 MWt in 2009)
http://en.wikiped...kaya_Dam
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2012
What's to say that the US DOESN'T already have a similar kind of arrangement on the quiet?

They don't need to have an 'agreement on the quiet'. They have it quite oppenly. Per court order (or smiply homeland insecurity directive without a warrant) they can get anything from any server in the US.
geokstr
1 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2012
"The operating system has all the functional capabilities of an Android operating system...

And I'm reasonably somewhat nearly most likely certain (possibly) that it's just an absolutely totally sheer coincidence (of sorts) that its lines of code have the same exact configuration to the Android, as the match between the DNA of humans and chimpanzees, a minor 96% .
Minich
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2012
Android operating system is becouse of childish former Russia President Medvedev. I don't like his unprofessional ruling :(
Putin is better in this sense. At least Putin visited war plants where i worked rather long: Votkinsk missile plant, tank plant in Nizhniy Tagil (Uralvagonzavod), Izhevsk Izhmash (worldknown Kalashnikov)... And Putin spyed in German :) So he knows a lot :)
When i worked in defence industry there was strict instructions to use only russian designed and produced only in USSR armament and SOFTWARE. In 1979 i made Real Time Operating System for industrial robots, painting and AGV (it was BEFORE american QUNIX qnx.com and japan TRON and before Android :).
I hope Putin will send Medvedev in the resignation.
krundoloss
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 31, 2012
Yeah I dont trust America either. They put on a face like they are the good guys, yet they are the very definition of imperialist. I dont blame Russia one bit for coming up with thier own software. I think the US is going to face alot of opposition with thier control of the internet as it becomes more and more prevalent in the world. Even if the internet is not being controlled by the goverment, it could be if not already!
alfie_null
5 / 5 (3) Sep 01, 2012
It is hack-proof

There are people who still think like this?

Particularly considering some of the world's most talented malware producers could, say, be living just a few blocks away.
Minich
not rated yet Sep 01, 2012
For "most talented".... software engineering is not interesting.
They like pioneering absolutely new inventions! Like Kopernicus or Galileo or Ada Lovlace (daughter of Byron).
Wrist moving is too trivial :)
Minich
not rated yet Sep 01, 2012
I don't see too talented in IT :(
Except Wolfram's book The Foundations for a New Kind of Science
http://www.wolfra...toc.html
This will begin era of programming live objects: nanorobots as a cells of absolutely NEW MIND
Pkunk_
5 / 5 (1) Sep 02, 2012
Man it took just a minute -

1. In Soviet Russia , Android does you!

2. In Soviet Russia you don't locate GPS , Glonass locates you !

3. In Soviet Russia you don't google , Kremlin googles you !
Minich
not rated yet Sep 03, 2012
Man it took just a minute -

1. In Soviet Russia , Android does you!

2. In Soviet Russia you don't locate GPS , Glonass locates you !

3. In Soviet Russia you don't google , Kremlin googles you !


:)
Google came with Sergey Brin from Russia :)

As a rule i use Yandex.ru searh engine. It has more powerful search language. And recent years it has more powerful algorithm than Google with Page Rank. The aim of Yandex is to kill Page Rank! :) It is a pity that Yandex now indexes mainly only russian and former USSR domains pages :(
Aloken
5 / 5 (1) Sep 03, 2012
And I'm reasonably somewhat nearly most likely certain (possibly) that it's just an absolutely totally sheer coincidence (of sorts) that its lines of code have the same exact configuration to the Android, as the match between the DNA of humans and chimpanzees, a minor 96%.


There is no doubt about that, android is open source after all.