Monday, September 03, 2012

Russia snubs Google for Android-style tablet

The Russian government has built a tablet computer using an Android-style operating system but deliberately avoids Google. The defence ministry unveiled the encrypted prototype at a Berlin electronics show this week according to a report by AFP.

Russia is wary of Google's operating system, reportedly believing that data collected and stored in Google databases could find its way into the hands of the US government. This could, Russia believes, expose some of their most sensitive communications to the Americans.

The project has been in development for five years and the project's manager has said that it is completely hack proof. He also said that many Russians have little trust in Google's security and are afraid that details could very easily be leaked through using it.

It is largely intended for state officials, although it will be on sale to the public by the end of the year at a cost of 15,000 roubles (£291). The military version will be shock-proof and waterproof and will have all the functional capabilities of an Android operating system.

The project has been run out of a military research facility but is privately funded. It was presented in Berlin to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the military's technological innovation. This is not the first time that Russia has developed technological projects driven out of fears over US systems.

It developed the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), a rival of the Global Positioning System, devised to help generals train their missiles on targets. The concept initially suffered but the system was eventually included in the software of Apple's latest iPhone.