There are still vast groups of people locked out of the digital revolution. In emerging markets, over three billion people don’t have basic internet access. In mature markets, close to 20% of mobile users still use basic phones because they can’t or don’t want to use a smartphone. For all these people, not being connected means missed opportunities in education, health, communication, entertainment, and business.
KaiOS has been built to close this digital gap. It combines the powerful capabilities of a smartphone with the affordability of a basic handset. The platform is based on the original Mozilla project. They even have people from the original Mozilla team in their engineering and UX departments. But KaiOS has been developed into something much more robust and expanded than the original Firefox OS.
KaiOS was first launched publicly in the US market in 2017. The primary features of KaiOS bring support for 4G LTE E, VoLTE, GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. With HTML5-based apps and longer battery life to non-touch devices with optimised user interface, less memory and energy consumption. It is compatible with chipsets from major manufacturers
Apps are the lifeblood of any successful mobile OS. Just ask Microsoft about their failure here. So, KaiOS have set up the Kai Store. This is based on HTML5 making top-of-the-line features such as games, messaging, streaming apps, and social media available for everyone. Now apps like Facebook, Twitter, Google Assistant and Google Maps are all available.
Investment From Google
Even with this suite of advanced features and app support, KaiOS-powered phones use limited memory and energy, thus allowing it to power affordable devices with a longer battery life than most smartphones.
In June 2018, Google invested US$22 million in the operating system. India-based telecom operator Reliance Jio also invested $7 million in cash to pick up a 16% stake in the company.
Although KaiOS is enjoying great success in developing markets it is also making inroads into Western ones as well. For example the recently released Nokia 800 Tough and Nokia 2720 Flip both run KaiOS. So, expect to see it in more phones soon.