KaiOS-Powered Devices Like the Reliance Jio Phone to Get Google Maps, YouTube, & Assistant Soon


Ever since smartphones became a thing, feature phones began fading away. Now, they're a dying breed with little to no takers, as one can easily get an Android device for the price. There may still be some hope, though, thanks to smart feature phones. Smart feature phones are a new variety of feature phones that have limited memory and processing power, but that is still able to offer a better user experience than feature phones powered by older platforms. The software used by smart feature phones is KaiOS which is a Linux-based mobile operating system that is a successor of the now dead Firefox OS. One of the most popular devices running KaiOS is the Jio Phone, which was launched in India as a low cost solution for users wanting to use the Reliance Jio network. The 4G-enabled version of the Nokia 8110 is also KaiOS-based.

KaiOS has announced that they have agreed to work together with Google to make Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search available to KaiOS users. These apps have been developed specifically for the KaiOS platform using open standards such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. According to their blog post:

WhatsApp Now Available on Phones Running KaiOS

“We want to ensure that Google apps and services are available to everyone, whether they are using desktops, smartphones, or feature phones.” said Anjali Joshi, Vice-President, Product Management, Next Billion Users. “Following the success of the JioPhones, we are excited to work with KaiOS to further improve access to information for feature phone users around the world.”

“ We’re excited to work with Google to deliver its services on more mobile devices,” continued Sebastien Codeville. “Having an intelligent voice assistant on an affordable mobile phone is truly revolutionary as it helps overcome some of the limitations a keypad brings.”

The announcement comes after Google invested $22 million in the company to ' help bring the internet to the next generation of users'. The company also works closely with manufacturers such as TCL, HMD Global, and Micromax and has partnerships with carriers such as Reliance Jio, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile who help produce affordable devices that include essential functionalities like apps, GPS, 4G/LTE, and Wi-Fi.

Given the hardware and software limitations of devices that run KaiOS, the apps might not be as feature-rich as their Android counterparts, but it's still better than nothing. Google Maps, in particular, will be of great help to people in remote areas that don't have access to smartphones.

News Source: XDA developers