Although the pace of sales on smartphones continues to decline, the startup of KaiOS software, which started in 2017 from the ashes of the failed Mozilla OS project, bets that there is still a large lucrative market for cheaper mobile phones.
KaiOS is trying to integrate more Google services into its operating system, namely Google Assistant, Google Maps and a YouTube application. The company has partnered with Nokia, but also with Jio, a mobile phone maker from India, and hopes to hit the market for cheaper devices.
For the record, KaiOS earned $ 22 million from Google last year and had already begun development to add key features of Assistant and Maps to its operating system.
At the same time, KaiOS has started collaborations with some new mobile phone manufacturers. This is how we will see the KaiOS operating system on Ooredoo and Orange devices. The company also released the first promotional SDK, KaiAds for its operating system. The new additions open the door to many new features, such as banking, access to health services, education and many more.
For the past 10 years, the rise of smartphones running Apple's iOS and Google's Android has been inevitable, as the oligopoly leaves no room for expansion. The KaiOS operating system comes as a supplement for those who want to have a laptop in their pocket but do not have the budget to get a device with Android Or with IOS.
In emerging markets, we need very cheap smartphones, but with as many features as expensive devices offer. It's a way of bridging the digital divide in places where the phone is the only way a person can access the Internet.
"Yes, smartphones are quite affordable, as the cheaper models now cost around $ 35, but with KaiOS they will cost $ 15-20. It's half the price of a smartphone, ”says Sebastien Codeville of the company.
"There are 2G cell phones that are priced at $ 7-8, but do not have access to most cellular services." KaiOS is something in the middle and in addition the battery life can reach five days on a single charge.
In the more mature markets, there are certain categories of users who do not want to spend for a smartphone. "Older people are looking for phones with keyboards as it is difficult for them to use a touch screen. There are employees who are looking for more durable products and smartphones are not for them. ”
This is why a company like Google, whose Android operating system helped create the $ 50 smartphone, is working with KaiOS.
"We are a distribution platform for inaccessible customers," said Codeville. Nevertheless, he admits that Android is KaiOS's biggest competitor.