We’re in Cape Town, South Africa at AfricaCom 2019, where we’re discussing our mission of closing the digital divide by making the internet more accessible to all. Africa has almost 800 million people disconnected from the internet, and KaiOS is poised to radically decrease this statistic by offering new affordable devices, focusing on regional partnerships, and bringing essential apps and services to the community.
KaiOS-powered smart feature phones bring smartphone-level features to inexpensive feature phone hardware, making vital digital resources like banking, healthcare, education, and communications more readily available. This is especially valuable in rural areas, where traditional internet connections are virtually nonexistent.
Kai is excited to announce several new devices and partnerships, all aimed at expanding access to smart feature phones, high-quality educational resources, and localized digital content.
Key regional partnerships
Vodacom, Azumi and MediaTek – Smart Kitochi
We’ve partnered alongside mobile powerhouses Vodacom, Azumi, and MediaTek to help eliminate the digital divide for millions of disconnected Tanzanians,by the Smart Kitochi, Tanzania’s first affordable smart feature phone. Packing smartphone-level features like 3G/4G, WiFi, and GPS, the Smart Kitochi costs $20 USD and has already surpassed all sales projections in its first two weeks of availability. Learn more about the Smart Kitochi here.
Orange and Intel – Sanza XL
Another exciting announcement, stemming from our continued partnership with Orange, is the Sanza XL, a 4G-enabled sequel to the original KaiOS-powered Sanza smart feature phone that includes a larger 2.8” screen and an improved 2 Megapixel camera. Manufactured by Intel, the Sanza XL will be available for $28 USD in seven countries in Africa and the Middle East: Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Jordan, Mali, and Senegal. Learn more about the next generation of one of Africa’s most popular KaiOS-powered devices here.
Africell – Afriphone
Africell launched the first 3G smart feature phone in Gambia: the Afriphone. This KaiOS-powered device includes Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC, and also enables users to access more than 200 apps via the KaiStore, including YouTube, WhatsApp, and Google Assistant. Afriphone will be the first KaiOS-powered device launched in the Gambia and Sierra Leone, and it will soon be available in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as well. Learn more about the Afriphone here.
Tigo – Kitochi 4G Smart
Expanding the reach of KaiOS-powered devices in Africa, Tigo and Kai have partnered to launch the Kitochi 4G Smart in Tanzania. Retailing for $21 USD, this affordable smart feature phone enables users to access smartphone-level apps, including WhatsApp, Google Assistant, and Facebook. This partnership is also a key step in connecting users in Eastern Africa, as KaiOS-powered devices have rolled out in Uganda, Rwanda, and now Tanzania. Read more about the Kitochi 4G Smart here.
Building a content ecosystem: In-house educational app now live in Africa
Delivering high-quality, localized educational resources covering Digital Skills, Education, Health, Gender Equality, Agriculture, and Finances, Kai’s in-house app Life for smart feature phones is now available in Africa. Kai collaborates with trusted groups and NGOs, including Funzi, Worldreader, Care, Girl Effect, Tambero, Esoko, Cell-Ed, We Farm, iCow, and Ubongo, to achieve greater impact together.
The most accessed section of Life is Digital Skills, which was developed in partnership with the GSMA to ensure that users learn proper digital literacy skills through the app. Kai and the GSMA also developed a new MISTT training module, equipping carrier partners to teach first-time smart feature phone users about KaiOS. Now available to KaiOS users in Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa, Life will be available in more African countries soon. Learn more about Life’s educational resources here.
Press event: Tanzania’s first smart feature phone
Following the first year of smart feature phones in Africa, we held a joint press event alongside partners Vodacom, Azumi, and MediaTek to celebrate our newly forged partnership, and further highlight the Smart Kitochi, Tanzania’s first smart feature phone.
While onsite in Cape Town, Kai’s Vice President of Business Development for EMEA, Matthieu Bacquias, presented on the impact KaiOS has on the business model of telcos and how we address the modern challenges they face. Adapted for emerging markets, KaiOS’ unique ecosystem focuses on a simple user experience, delivering smartphone-level features in affordable devices. These features include support for 3G/4G internet connectivity, hotspot capabilities, and popular apps like Google Assistant, WhatsApp, and Facebook, all packed in an easy-to-use device which is designed with first time internet users in mind.
Matthieu also explored how the accessibility of KaiOS-powered smart feature phones helps telcos grow their revenue. These affordable devices enable carriers to reach an untapped customer base, and migrate legacy 2G plans to 3G/4G. In this way KaiOS has connected millions of people to the internet and aforementioned digital services for the first time, with more than 105 million devices in over 100 countries.
Finally, Matthieu spoke to KaiOS’ partnerships, which even aside from the KaiStore’s list of top-tier applications and developers, boasts a wide variety of industry leaders. In addition to carrier partners around the world, Kai works with organizations Funzi, Worldreader, Care, Girl Effect, Tambero, Esoko, Cell-Ed, and We Farm, to provide high-quality educational resources through the in-house Life app. These partnerships illustrate Kai’s commitment to delivering not only accessible devices, but also locally relevant content to enrich the lives of those accessing the internet for the first time.
KaiOS recognized with AfricaCom’s Changing Lives Award
What’s better for a perfect wrap up than a proud winner of the AfricaCom Award!
We’re pleased to announce AfricaCom Awards has honored KaiOS with, the Changing Lives Award which celebrates a product, initiative or social enterprise that has a life-changing impact on individuals or communities throughout Africa. We’ve forged partnerships with carriers, manufacturers and developers to help make internet access affordable and ubiquitous for the billions of people who are still unconnected, as well as giving them access to digital resources like education, health and financial services. We’re particularly proud of this recognition as it serves as a proof point to our dedication towards our mission of improving lives of those in the emerging markets by bridging the digital divide.