ibusinesslines.com September 21, 2018

Google backs JioPhone operating system provider KaiOS

01 July 2018, 04:00 | Jodi Jackson

Above KaiOSImage Credit KaiOS

Above KaiOSImage Credit KaiOS

But while giving a boost to higher-end feature phones might risk eating into the low-end smartphone market, Google secured a partnership that includes plans to make Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search available to KaiOS users. And it just got a massive boost as Google invested $22 million as part of a Series A investment. It has partnership with OEMs like TCL, HMD Global and Micromax for mobile devices and also has a partnership with carriers such as Reliance Jio, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile. Google's apps on KaiOS would play a key role in driving adoption for the operating system and 4G feature phones. Anjali Joshi, vice-president, product management, Next Billion Users, said in a statement.

The announcement came alongside Google's announcement of monetary investment in KaiOS.

Firefox OS was a relatively short-lived operating system that powered a range of low-powered phones and smart TVs before it was discontinued completely in January 2017.

This is a significant move from the search giant which strengthens its position in feature phone segment (with a limited feature of smartphones). KaiOS is slowly emerging as a popular choice for feature phones, particularly in the said emerging markets.

About KaiOS Technologies KaiOS Technologies powers an emerging ecosystem of affordable digital products and services. There are hundreds of millions of feature phones sold each year.

"We're excited to work with Google to deliver its services on more mobile devices", said Codeville.

In 2017, KaiOS's deployed the 4G-enabled Jio Phone coupled with low-priced data services. But its most significant deployment to date has been with India's Reliance Jio, the challenger telco that disrupted the Indian market with affordable 4G data packages.

In a world dominated by smartphones, emerging countries like India still has a vast number of feature phone users who haven't made the switch to smartphones yet.

To be clear, Google services are not the only ones on KaiOS.

Facebook and Twitter apps are already available and WhatsApp is on the way too. It has received Google Assistant support. While the suite of apps now is limited, thanks to the lack of an app store, Google wants to change this by providing Google services like Maps, Google Assistant, etc. for internet users in emerging markets.

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