BharOS, a Linux kernel based operating system for Android phones from an IIT incubated startup is currently touted as India’s own Android and iOS rival. While BharOS is still in the testing phase, it is said to be compatible with Pixel smartphones. If you want to install BharOS on your phone or get a phone that ships with BharOS, you might have to wait for at least a few more months. In the meantime, here are some of the custom Android OS builds that can be used without any Google services.
Do note that, installing a custom ROM on your smartphone does come with risks of its own. To install a custom ROM, the bootloader has to be unlocked, which will make the device vulnerable to hacks and malware. Not just that, a custom ROM might break the primary functionalities of the smartphone and it could also make the phone unusable. Lastly, always download the custom ROMs only from verified sources.
If you don’t want to use Google services on your Android phone and want an operating system that’s unique, secure, and stable, then Sailfish OS is one of those few options that deliver fourth-generation security with protection from Firejail sandboxing, which reduces the risk of a security breach using Linux namespaces. This operating system is developed and maintained by the team behind the Jolla series of devices, which were launched right after the Nokia N800 and the N900 series of smartphones.
As this is still a Linux kernel based OS, it allows users to sideload APKs. However, the major drawback of this operating system is that the support is limited to select Sony smartphones.
Ubuntu Touch is also a great way to enjoy a smartphone without Google services. This custom operating system is available for select phones from Xiaomi, OnePlus, Asus, Google, and Samsung. When compared to other Linux kernel based OS, Ubuntu Touch offers a unique and secure user experience.
Popular amongst custom ROM enthusiasts, LineageOS, previously known as CyanogenMod is one of the most popular open-source custom Android ROM makers in the world with support for improved security, timely software updates, and security patches. Just like BharOS, LineageOS also allows users to choose their own default apps. LineageOS is available for smartphones of all major brands like Google, Nokia, Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Motorola, Lenovo, and LG.
As the name suggests, this OS is based on the Linux kernel and is meant for installing aftermarket or postmarket phones and it is also said to be the real Linux distribution for phones. It is said to be a sustainable mobile OS and is based on free software. PostmarketOS can be installed on select Motorola, OnePlus, Samsung, and Xiaomi devices.
Arrow OS is another AOSP-based custom ROM available for smartphones of all major brands. This custom ROM offers a clean UI with very minimal first-party apps, again, allowing users to pick and choose apps of their choice. Similarly, it also comes with a lot of customisation options. Arrow OS is also known for delivering a stable user experience.