It sounds like an oddity: apps on a (“dumb”) feature phone. Until now, the smartphone has been the domain of apps and their stores. With the launch of the KaiStore on KaiOS-powered devices, this smartphone-monopoly on apps ends.
Conceptually, the KaiStore is no different from a store for apps on other devices. You can browse app categories, like social media and games. You can read a preview, find info on the developer, and download the apps you like. Many are free, some are paid, others offer in-app purchases. KaiOS also supports push notifications, just like a regular smartphone.
Another similarity is the type of content you can find in the KaiStore. We have signed up many of the world’s most popular apps, like Facebook, Twitter, and several from Google (Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Assistant). In the coming months, many more titles will be added in categories like gaming, streaming entertainment, travel, social media, and health.
So far, so similar. Now let’s look at what makes the KaiStore different!
Closing the digital divide
Our mission at Kai is to close the digital divide, and the KaiStore plays a central role in this effort.
Reducing digital inequality doesn’t end by solving device affordability, digital literacy, and data pricing (more details on these issues in this post). Resolving these problems is crucial, but they’re only the beginning.
The next important step is to create relevant content (including apps) specifically for those who access the (mobile) internet for the first time. For example, we partner with Google and make Google Assistant available in the KaiStore. Users can use their Google Assistant to find answers, get things done and open apps using nothing but their voice – all they have to do is press and hold Google Assistant button to get started. Simple and convenient! So in the coming months and years, we will be turning more of our attention to help bring more apps to the KaiStore that are developed with this unique target audience in mind.
The KaiStore will be curated for the foreseeable future. Any developer can submit suggestions for apps and all of these will be reviewed by the KaiStore team.
From these submissions we will select the apps that are most fitting for KaiOS and our target audience, to guarantee the best possible experience for our users. We will make the review criteria transparent and easy to understand in order to improve the chances of a successful submission.
While we want to provide as much relevant content as possible, we also want to ensure a high level of quality and make it easy to discover new apps. We can only do this by slowly increasing the amount of content, making improvements to the KaiStore as we grow.
To support our unique form factor and target audiences, we’re building an entirely new advertising solution specifically for feature phones. This product will help app developers monetize their apps in the KaiStore.
KaiAds will support innovative ways of monetizing content on (feature) phones, for example with a lock screen solution, as well as pre-rolls and post-rolls at specific moments in the app.
When? When? When?
The KaiStore will go live in several countries in May (details to follow) and continues to be rolled out on a country-by-country basis from there onwards in close cooperation with our partners. We expect the KaiStore to be live in most countries and on most devices by the end of 2018*.
Curious about developing apps for KaiOS? Head over to our Developers page and leave your email address. We’ll notify you shortly when we have more detailed information about developing apps for the KaiStore.
* Please note that while technically the platform is the same, app development submissions and content for the JioStore (the store for apps on the JioPhone) is being managed by Reliance Jio.