A new smartphone operating system that puts privacy first

Aphostropy operating system

A Swiss-based start-up is developing an operating system that aims to be a more secure alternative to Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

Trust in the big smartphone operating systems has been increasingly eroded in recent years due to gaps in data protection resulting in several major court decisions. The Swiss start-up Apostrophy AG wants to address this issue and announced at the World Economic Forum 2023 last week in Davos that it will offer a new operating system with significantly better data protection. The highlight of the new system: the apps installed on the operating system are segregated from each other and, accordingly, do not transmit any unwanted data.

Android serves as the backbone

Nevertheless, users will still be able to enjoy the benefits of the popular Android apps. According to Bloomberg, the new operating system called AphyOS is based on an open-source version of Android and supports Android apps. However, Google Mobile Services are deliberately not included.

Subscription fee instead of data usage-based billing

Many useful apps are free of charge these days, but they require users to share data with the manufacturers, which can be used to generate advertising revenue. According to a Bloomberg media report, the Swiss solution takes a different approach to funding its privacy-focused operating system, charging a subscription fee for the combination of software and services. The first smartphones running the AphyOS operating system are expected to hit the market in 2023.

Makers of a minimalist phone

The makers behind the privacy-focused system are based in Lugano in the Swiss canton of Ticino and are no strangers to the mobile phone market. For several years, the founder of Apostrophy AG, Petter Neby, has been developing and selling minimalist mobile phones that do not contain any distracting apps called Punkt. The idea behind it: more time for focus and fewer distractions. Users who still can't or don't want to forgo access to the internet can activate a 4G connection on their mobile phones at any time and thus access the internet via a tablet, for example.

Punkt phone

A minimalist mobile phone without distractions.

50 employees involved

According to Apostrophe AG, the start-up has already been able to recruit 50 employees for the development and distribution of the new operating system. Its CEO is a mobile phone veteran with over 25 years' professional experience. The team is now looking for additional investors to expand the business and roll out the product.

Watch this space to see to what extent the Swiss start-up succeeds in taking on the industry's leading players, Apple and Android, with an operating system that puts privacy first. Previous attempts by major players such as Microsoft or the Mozilla Foundation with Firefox have not been particularly successful.