World leaders in the telecom space have descended on Barcelona for MWC 2019, and true to form, the KaiOS Technologies team is on site and making some exciting announcements!
Our focus has always been to pack powerful functionality into smart feature phones to bring rich experiences to underserved markets, as well as to users in established markets looking for an alternative to smartphones.
To do this, we’re revealing new partnerships with mobile carriers, ODMs/OEMs, and content creators including Google, Orange, and Ooredoo to name a few in what will prove to be a critical step in pursuit of our mission.
We’re also taking some important steps toward expanding the KaiOS digital services ecosystem, both for our users and for those looking to develop content for the platform.
Read on for more information about the groundbreaking announcements we made at the show:
Solidifying Our Partnership with Google
Kai and Google are expanding the partnership so KaiOS users can enjoy deeper integration of Google’s services like the Google Assistant and Google Maps, and access YouTube for the first time on their smart feature phones. Further, besides devices from seven partners already in the market, more than five new KaiOS-powered devices boasting Google functionality will be launching soon in the Middle-East, Africa, Latin America, and Europe, supported by Orange, MTN, Avenir Telecom, and several other carriers and OEMs.
Launching New Devices and Expanding Chipset Support
New Devices Coming to Africa and the Middle East
Kai established six new partnerships with mobile operators in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania, to launch mobile phones running on KaiOS. These devices form a new category of phones that combine the affordability of a feature phone with the essential features of a smartphone. This collaboration involves the following partners: Accent in Morocco, Bomare in Algeria, Condor in Algeria, Eric Beare Associates, Sico in Egypt, and Maya Global Network.
Avenir Telecom, the exclusive Energizer® licensee, and Kai collaborated on the recent release of eight new KaiOS-powered Energizer feature phones. The 3G and 4G mobile phones, the first to be released by Energizer, will run on KaiOS and come preinstalled with KaiStore apps, including Google Assistant, Google Maps, Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. The devices will be available starting in Q2, 2019.
MediaTek and Kai announce a new integration between KaiOS and a series of MediaTek chipsets that power 3G and 4G devices. As part of this cooperation, the KaiOS mobile operating system will now run on the 3G MT6572 platform, and MT6731, a newly announced platform that can support dual-4G SIM cards in mobile devices. The first KaiOS-powered MT6572 and MT6731 3G/4G smart features phones are expected to be launched in Q2 2019.
KaiOS Technologies and Ooredoo are bringing a new smart feature phone boasting affordable mobile internet access to Qatar, which will help increase digital inclusion across the region. Nearly 30 million of Ooredoo’s 180 million customers across 12 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia still use feature phones with limited voice and text capabilities. To help reduce this digital divide, Ooredoo will be making KaiOS’ smart feature phones available to customers in Qatar in Q2 of 2019.
Beginning April 2019, Orange customers in Africa will have access to a new category of smart feature phone powered by KaiOS. The new phone, named Sanza, will be available in 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia. Sanza will cost around $20, depending on each country, and will be powered by UNISOC SC7731EF chipset platform with a long-lasting battery life up to 5 days, 3G+, Torch, WiFi and Bluetooth.
Expanding Kai’s Service Ecosystem
Kai is launching KaiAds – the first advertisement software development kit (SDK) and supply-side platform (SSP) designed specifically for smart feature phones. This solution offers brands and advertisers entry into new regions via the more than 80 million KaiOS-powered devices that have been shipped to over 100 countries. With KaiAds, publishers can easily integrate advertising into their products, without having to worry about porting or optimizing an alternative mobile ads SDK for the lower technical specs of a KaiOS-powered smart feature phone.
We’re announcing Life, a collection of informational resources for KaiOS users across Africa and Southeast Asia. In line with Kai’s mission to help close the digital divide, Life will come pre-installed on most KaiOS-powered handsets and will comprise a directory of curated content in categories like women’s empowerment, health, education, agriculture, financial inclusion, and digital skills. Content will be developed through collaboration with several organizations including Esoko, Funzi, Girl Effect, Topfarming, Wefarm, and Worldreader. As part of the Life initiative, Kai also built a Digital Skills app to help people learn the basics of the internet, with topics such as internet navigation, privacy, security, social media, and more.
Kai and CARE, the global poverty-fighting organization, are partnering to provide resources that educate, connect, and empower underserved communities, all via Life, an app that will be available for download in the KaiStore beginning in Q2 of 2019. When the app launches, one of the sections will feature articles and guidance aimed at increasing financial understanding and independence, specifically as it relates to CARE’s Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) initiative. This program gives communities, and especially women, the means to manage their own money, access affordable loans, and build economic resilience.
Making the Global Mobile Awards 2019 Nominee Shortlist
KaiOS Technologies has been shortlisted as a Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough amongst companies generating less than $10million Annual Global Revenue. The category seeks to award companies that are revolutionizing the capabilities and reach of mobile and digital technology. Winners will be announced throughout the week of Mobile World Congress.
Being Named to the GSMA 100
The GSMA has named KaiOS Technologies to the ‘GSMA 100’, a global innovation discovery initiative designed to identify the world’s most promising growth-stage companies and advance the next generation of connectivity and digital services. The GSMA 100 represents the innovation priorities of mobile operators around the world and through its inclusion, Kai hopes to achieve a more inclusive mobile ecosystem and ultimately close the digital divide in both emerging and established markets.
Suffice it to say we’ve been extremely busy over the last several months and are thrilled to unveil so many exciting and important announcements at MWC. Together with our partners, we’re providing affordable mobile phones with fun and useful apps to improve our users’ lives.
If you’re onsite at the show in Barcelona, stop by Hall 5, booth #5G81 to check out our suite of devices for yourself and learn more about all the exciting news we’ve announced.
Keep coming back to the blog because we’re always sharing news and insights from our team.