Along with the investment, Google also aims to be working together with the Hong Kong-based company and is agreed to work with its team to optimize its premium services such as Google maps, Google search, Google assistance and Youtube for the KaiOS platform.
At the moment, KaiOS powers some 40 million feature phones on the market.
KaiOS works with manufacturers like TCL, HMD Global, and Micromax and has partnerships with carriers such as Reliance Jio, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The move comes as no surprise as earlier this year Google had announced that they are developing its native apps for KaiOS powered Nokia mobile phones. Anjali Joshi, vice-president, product management, Next Billion Users, said in a statement.
Google realized that this OS has a chance to complete the conquest of the mobile market, so it invested a lot of money in its development, and to be precise, the $22 million dollars.
KaiOS is a USA -based project that started in 2017, built on the ashes of Mozilla's failed Firefox OS experiment, as a fork of the Linux codebase.
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Since the launch of the KaiOS powered JioPhone, users have been raising concerns about the availability of essential apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube and more. "The JioPhone became the best-selling feature phone model in Q1 2018, and was also the best-selling feature phone brand in Q1 2018".
" We're excited to work with Google to deliver its services on more mobile devices", continued Sebastien Codeville.
Google's Next Billion Users is a programme aimed at providing people in the emerging markets, with limited connectivity and data availability, access to the internet.
Features phones are getting smarter, and Google doesn't want to miss out on providing their services to users, who might then decide to switch to the Android ecosystem if they enjoy using Google's services. The most significant deployment of KaiOS till now has been identified in India's Reliance Jio which offers a personal range of KaiOS handsets supported with the low-priced data packages provided by Reliance Jio.
KaiOS is now Google funded! Most recent example is the Nokia 8110, which is said to be coming with Google Search, Google Maps and the Google Voice Assistant on KaiOS.