To reach the next billion dollar users, Google has invested INR 150 crores in developing KaiOS operating system. With the success of JioPhone in India, KaiOS had been one of the most used OS in the Indian market. KaiOS makes an operating system of the same name for utility phones and other devices that can run some apps but are more similar to the flip phones of old. TechCrunch reported that phones that run KaiOS will now support Google Search, Maps, YouTube, and Google-powered voice commands.
“This funding will help us fast-track development and global deployment of KaiOS-enabled smart feature phones, allowing us to connect the vast population that still cannot access the internet, especially in emerging markets,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies.
KaiOS works closely with manufacturers like TCL, HMD Global, and Micromax (Bharat1) and has partnerships with carriers such as Reliance Jio, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile. These partners produce affordable devices that include essential functionalities like apps, GPS, 4G/LTE, and Wi-Fi. The Kai team operates out of offices around the world, including San Diego, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai, Paris, and Bangalore.
Facebook and Twitter apps are already available and WhatsApp is on the way too. Since KaiOS is based on HTML5 technology we may see even more companies port their web apps to the platform.
“We want to ensure that Google apps and services are available to everyone, whether they are using desktops, smartphones, or feature phones,” said Anjali Joshi, Vice-President, Product Management, Next Billion Users. “Following the success of the JioPhones, we are excited to work with KaiOS to further improve access to information for feature phone users around the world.”
“We’re excited to work with Google to deliver its services on more mobile devices. Having an intelligent voice assistant on an affordable mobile phone is truly revolutionary as it helps overcome some of the limitations a keypad brings.” – Stephen Codewile, KaiOS.