updated 09:36 pm EDT, Mon September 3, 2012
Android-based OS said to cut Google out entirely
The Russian defense ministry has been working on a tablet that will run a slimmed-down version of Android, one that eliminates potential security risks by cutting Google's services out of the device entirely. The new tablet, said to have been in the works for the past five years, is intended for use within the Russian military and government, but it could find its way into the hands of private citizens and organizations that place a premium on data security. According to Security Week, a version of the device is scheduled to go on sale to the public by the end of the year.
The version developed for defense and governmental clients will be shock- and water-proof, according to developers at the defense ministry's Central Scientific Research Institute. The device will feature all of the functional capabilities of Google's Android operating system but none of the features that send users' private data to Google.
The developers behind the project say that, besides the Russian government, other entities such as state energy giant Gazprom do not trust Google's security and are reluctant to rely on the stock version of Android with sensitive data. The new system is said to be "hack-proof," and it reportedly already has a number of pre-orders ahead of its release date.
The device will be released first to Russia's military, but another version will go on sale by the end of the year at a cost of 15,000 rubles, or $460. The software powering the device is also said to be scalable to smartphones.