Google invests $22 million in KaiOS feature phone operating system

Google, Others, Startups

Google has just invested $22 million into a feature phone operating system, KaiOS. As part of this deal, KaiOS will be including Google services like search, maps, YouTube and its voice assistant into more of its devices. For those who are not aware, KaiOS is the operating system which is used in the JioPhone and also on some other popular handsets like the Nokia 8810 Banana phone.

KaiOS CEO Sebastien Codeville said in a statement,“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.”

Only a handful of devices have shipped with KaiOS at this point, including the Alcatel OneTouch Go Flip, the Reliance Jio JioPhone, and the Nokia 8810 4G (although the 8810 runs a tweaked version). Like Firefox OS, apps are written in web technologies like HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. The app store includes applications like Facebook, Twitter, Google Assistant, The Weather Channel, and Google Maps.

More than 40 million KaiOS phones have shipped so far, according to TechCrunch. That’s an impressive number for the feature phone market which is still holding on strong despite smartphones taking over the majority of phone sales.

Google’s investment will most certainly lead to more feature phone users access Google’s services and realise its benefits. KaiOS has already added apps for Twitter and Facebook and it is being said that support for WhatsApp also be available soon.

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