Learn to Develop for the KaiOS Operating System with These Resources

As KaiOS heads into emerging markets like Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, we are on the lookout for mobile apps to add to our KaiStore. In particular, we’re interested in those designed to improve the lives of people within these markets, such as educational apps for schoolchildren, banking and financial services apps designed to bolster financial inclusion, and agricultural apps that help farmers gather real-time data.

The KaiStore — available online through phones running the KaiOS operating system — functions much like other app stores but provides opportunities for developers with ambitions of reaching a wider audience as KaiOS is available in more than 100 countries.

Developing native apps to run on other app stores requires extensive resources, especially when you are targeting both Android and iOS. On the other hand, you can easily port web-based apps developed for KaiOS to multiple platforms because the operating system is based on web technologies.

Why develop for KaiOS?

Having already surpassed Apple iOS in India to become the second most-used mobile operating system in the country, KaiOS is quickly becoming a powerhouse. The technology is built to meet the needs of emerging markets by offering a low-cost alternative to touchscreen devices. KaiOS growing fast in such areas as Africa and Latin America.

Currently, KaiOS runs on over 100 million phones worldwide and is on track to run on 150 million by the end of 2019. As of 2017, the Google Play store had 724,000 mobile app developers and the Apple store had 494,000. With so many developers in the same space, it’s difficult to stand out against the competition. Developers who submit apps to the KaiStore early on can enjoy a less competitive environment and still be able to reach millions of users around the world. As such, successful KaiOS apps have the potential to be very lucrative. Plus, they’re easier to build than their native counterparts from Google and Apple.

With KaiOS, developers use coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to build web-based apps. Even those who are brand new to app development can get up-to-speed quickly and have just as much opportunity to design successful mobile apps as experienced native app developers. Skilled developers, too, have opportunities to reach new consumers by transitioning existing native apps to web-based apps.

Ready to get started with KaiOS app development? The following resources will help you design apps for the KaiStore.

Official resource for developing for the KaiOS operating system

Our developer portal for KaiOS operating system app development covers topics such as core development, design guidelines, debugging, and submitting to the KaiStore. Below are three of its key sections:


Use the simulator to mimic running your web app on a mobile device. Here, developers can access instructions for ENV setup and building their first app.

Design guide

To attract users and keep them engaged with your app, designing specifically for the KaiOS operating system is key. Learn how to capture and maintain users’ attention through creative motion, clear typeface, and pleasing imagery by experimenting with the KaiOS UI Design Resource Sketch files. Navigate your app as a user would, and design with the user experience in mind.

Run and debug

Once apps are ready for testing, developers can use WebIDE tools to identify issues and assess app performance and memory before launch and over time. Learn how to examine and modify HTML and CSS, track down JavaScript bugs, preview the effects of code changes, and more.

Design at Kai medium UX series

In addition to the Developer Portal, we’ve also put together a UX Design series. Here, developers can check out behind-the-scenes stories written by the KaiOS UX Design Team. Developers who are new to smart feature phone app design can get advice on how to optimize over-scroll effects, design for smaller screens, arrange softkeys, etc.

Resources for learning HTML5

KaiOS apps run on web technologies, so studying HTML5 mobile app development is essential. When designed properly, HTML5 mobile apps functioning on the KaiOS light operating system will perform just as well the native app version. In fact, HTML5 apps can also be packaged to be released in native app stores without users experiencing a noticeable difference in performance.


Whether you are just getting started with HTML5 or refreshing your skills, W3Schools is an excellent resource. Like classes at a traditional school, their lessons include tutorials, study guides, and quizzes to test your comprehension.

Josh Morony

Josh Morony regularly posts free HTML5 mobile tutorials. He also has several articles worth reading on HTML5 such as 7 Lessons from 3 Years of HTML5 Mobile Application Development, 5 Things Beginner HTML5 Mobile Developers Should Know, and Top 10 Tools for HTML5 Mobile App Developers.

HTML5 programming tutoriaL VIDEO

If you learn best through videos, check out this 25-minute tutorial to watch the process of designing a basic HTML5 app from start to finish.

HTML5 Game App Templates

This collection of 20 game templates is perfect for hands-on learners who want to explore the source code of different apps. This is a great way for developers to get inspiration for their own apps.

Additional resources for developing KaiOS apps

Once you’ve gone through the official KaiOS developer resources and brushed up on HTML5, check out these additional resources.

MDN Web Docs

KaiOS was originally forked from B2G (Boot to Gecko), which is a successor of Firefox OS. For that reason, it’s helpful to get familiar with the basics of the discontinued Firefox OS as KaiOS still shares many of the same development principles.

To build a foundational understanding of the operating system, beginners can read the MDN Web Doc’s step-by-step guide.

Porting Web Apps to KaiOS

Existing web app developers who want to develop for KaiOS can refer to this quick guide. It provides a simple process for porting existing web apps to the KaiOS operating system.

Now is the time to develop for KaiOS

KaiOS expects to run on 50 million additional phones before the end of 2019 and will continue to expand in the coming years. Developers who create mobile apps for KaiOS now will get first access to new consumers as KaiOS enters previously untapped markets. And your apps will be in great company — we’ve already worked with the likes of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, the Google Assistant, YouTube and more. Bring your creative ideas to areas of the world that went from having limited internet access to having an exciting world of apps to explore on affordable mobile phones.

Get started with KaiOS mobile app development by visiting our developer portal. We can’t wait to see what you create!

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There are 18 Comments

  1. Uday

    you have gained much needed momentum and popularity to your KAI OS through jiophone in india. but in return you handled the control over the app store to reliance jio making kai os powered jio phone in india deprived of hundreds of apps that areavailable to all other users over the world.
    now how can you expect trust and support from indian users?
    if your goal is to close the digital gap,how are you going to achieve the same when YOUR OS itself have division between users?

  2. Leonard Alberti

    i cant see all my fotos in the gallery. can u fix that bug please

  3. Jacque Budd

    how can I delete the KaiOs setup on my phone? I don’t have data in my plan and don’t need the feature. It keeps sending me notifications and it is a nuisance.

  4. Shivam

    We know very well that Reliance Jio is sololy responsible for apps on JioStore for JioPhone.
    But try to analyse who are using this phone, poor, or lower middle class man or the childrens gifted to their parents.
    Jiophone is not only to stream Youtube and whatsapp.
    1.Not a single online payment app is available for this feature phone.
    2.It doesn’t have call recording feature.
    3. OTG cable is not supported.
    3. Physical keyboard not supported.
    4. No Gov. services app are available except Umang app (basic version only)

    You only provide a 4g phone only to poorer to browse Youtube and whatsapp only.

    Please try to collaborate with Gov authorities to make gov. services accessable to the last in the row.

    And develop a feedback app for whole the phones problem regarding software issues to make it better and better with time.
    And provide regular software updates.

    My English is not so good, Hope you will understand what I am trying to saying.
    Work hard to empower the poor section most.

    • Kai Helps

      Hello! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about JioPhone and KaiOS. We appreciate your interest in our progress. Could you please specify what physical keyboard you are requesting for.

  5. Ivo

    Hi, because of limitation of classic keyboard can you add in KAIOS something like airdroid so we can manage our phone thru web app maybe over local wifi connection or over web with kaios account. (Read and send email, sms, edit and sync our contacts etc.)

    • Kai Helps

      Hello! Thank you for your advice. We understand that KaiOS has some limitations and it has some weak points. However, we are struggling to provide our users with the best experience.

  6. jose

    Dear KaiOS team, i am looking for an historical overview of KaiOS softwares versions ( Major ones and sub-versions) , could you please help ?
    best regards.

  7. هاتفي نوكيا 8110 لايوجد به مدير ملفات ارجو المساعدة

    • Kai Helps

      Hello! I am sorry that your phone doesn’t have the File Manager available. Kindly note that this feature is available only if the software version is 2.5.1.

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