If you were the developer of the world’s dominant smartphone platform at a time that the smartphone market has hit a plateau, and then see a fast-rising smart feature phone platform, what would you do?
Google has pulled a surprise move. Rather than go head-to-head against KaiOS, they have invested in it and secured a partnership that will make Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search available to KaiOS users.
It sounds like the smart thing to do to me.
Google and KaiOS
Why would the people at Google think it is a good idea that their services are available on a feature phone platform?
A little over half of the world’s mobile users are on feature phones and smartphone adoption has stalled.
KaiOS is already on 30 million phones and more brands are embracing it. With Nokia Mobile now producing KaiOS phones, the platform is bound to record even greater gains.
We have some hands-on insight into KaiOS in our Nokia 8110 4G review. The phone offers 4G LTE internet and hotspot in a feature phone package.
KaiOS and India
India, the current darling hotbed of the mobile world, is where KaiOS is thriving the most. KaiOS recently overtook iOS to become the second largest mobile platform in use in India.
Everyone – including the Chinese, and even Apple – wants a piece of the Indian market. Apple now manufactures two iPhone models in India and plans to add more to the line-up.
As Feature Phones Evolve
Rather than die away, as some predicted, feature phones are evolving and adapting. And emerging markets like India and the African continent will be their core territories.
In 2017, 60% of phones sold all over Africa were feature phones. KaiOS might be a hit too on the continent. 4G LTE and Google services in feature phones is just what the doctor ordered. If Microsoft is smart, they will be drawing plans to get their services on feature phones too.
A $22 million Boost
Google’s investment in KaiOS is part of a $22 million injection into the platform. If you had turned up your nose at feature phones and KaiOS, now is a good tine to reconsider. It looks like feature phones have a great future.
Should you be new to KaiOS, we have more detailed information about the feature phone platform in this article, KaiOS: everything you need to know.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.