On cheap data and freebies, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio forced its way into the telecom market last year and scared the incumbent, eating into their subscriber base and revenue. Now its JioPhone is likely to emerge as a strong challenger of mobile phone operating systems. That’s due to the operating system KaiOS that powers JioPhone taking over iOS in India and becoming the No. 2 operating system after Android. KaiOS has gained a 15% market share in India over the last one year, according to market intelligence firm DeviceAtlas.
What is KaiOS ?
KaiOS is a Linux-based mobile operating system that “merges the power of a smartphone with the affordability of a feature phone”. It is forked from B2G (Boot to Gecko), an open source community-driven successor of Firefox OS which was discontinued by Mozilla in 2016. KaiOS is built for those who cannot afford or do not want to use a smartphone. It will open up new opportunities for individuals, their families, and communities by making access to advanced digital services a reality for everyone. The operating system has an optimized user interface for non-touch phones.
Primary features of KaiOS –
KaiOS is to bring support of 4G LTE E, GPS and Wi-Fi with HTML5-based apps and longer battery life onto non-touch devices with optimized user interface, less memory and energy consumption. Other noteworthy features include support for live TV services, video calling, NFC support and Google contact integration. It also features over-the-air updates. A dedicated app marketplace called KaiStore enables users to download applications. Some services come preloaded as HTML5 applications, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It is very light and is able to run on devices with just 256 MB of memory.
The operating system first appeared in 2017 and is developed by KaiOS Technologies Inc., a San Diego, California-based company headed by CEO Sebastien Codeville with offices in other countries.
KaiOS works with manufacturers like TCL, HMD Global, and Micromax and has partnerships with carriers such as Reliance Jio, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile. KaiOS operating system for smart feature phones, last month received a $22 million investment from Google as part of the American company’s ‘Next Billion Users’ programme. Following the partnership, Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search will be available to KaiOS users.
KaiOS in action, HMD Global’s newly announced Nokia 8110 4G will run on KaiOS.