Internet search giant Google has just funded KaiOS with $22 million as part of a Series A investment. A part of it is the integration of the Google Maps, YouTube, and more apps to the simplistic mobile operating system for feature phones.
KaiOS might not ring a bell for many mobile phone users, it is a web-based mobile operating system platform that powers more than 40 million feature phones around the world. HMD Global, TCL, and Micromax are the major manufacturers of feature phones which are offered by Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Jio.
Folks at Google have already developed apps for KaiOS and the $22 million investment appears to be an indication of the Silicon Valley giant's growing confidence towards the future of a bare OS. Google will also be launching YouTube, Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Assistant apps on KaiOS. WhatsApp will also be available soon.
"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," said Sebastien Codeville, Chief Executive Officer of KaiOS Technologies.
Codeville said having a smart voice assistant integrated into an affordable phone will revolutionize how people use keypad handsets.
Google's investment is expected to bring about new developments for the OS and further boost its popularity and pull everyone close to the internet, especially in developing countries. Will the savvy tech users be enamored by a basic and simple mobile operating later down the road? We'll find out soon.
KaiOS is based on Mozilla's Firefox OS which ended early in 2017. Since Firefox OS was an open-source project, other companies took keen interest in the smartphone mobile operating system and used the code for new products. In March 2017, KaiOS was born.