The Birth of the Smart Feature Phone Revolution

It is official – smart feature phones, many of which are powered by KaiOS, have earned a spot in the mobile ecosystem based on the extraordinary growth – and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing. According to a new report from Counterpoint Research, nearly 370 million smart feature phones are expected to be sold across the world between 2019 and 2021, representing a $28 billion opportunity. Software and services alone will contribute 71 percent, or around $20 billion, of the near-to-mid-term revenue.


These projections have a lot of implications for consumers and the industry alike.


Thirty-four percent of the world’s population aren’t subscribed to mobile services and 57 percent don’t use mobile internet due to price point and lack of access. It’s these users that smart feature phones benefit the most.


Consumers no longer need to choose between budget smartphones or feature phones with limited functionality. Smart feature phones represent an entirely new category of devices that havethe power to guide the more than two billion feature phone users toward more advanced, efficient technology.


KaiOS and our partners have been driving forces in bringing the smart feature phone segment to life. We developed our platform with emerging regions and niche user groups in mind, from those priced out of the existing market, to others looking for an alternative to smartphones. There’s a huge demand for reliable, affordable technology in regions like Asia, Africa and Latin America where more sophisticated devices are just too expensive and basic feature phones are just that, too basic.


Alternatively, groups like seniors want devices that are easier to use without losing core functionality such as access to the internet, social media, and utilities. There’s also a segment of users that require more durable devices or even companion phones to accommodate their lifestyle or professional needs.


That’s a lot of people that KaiOS can serve.


The impacts go beyond consumers too; these smart feature phones can facilitate a host of business and revenue opportunities for the entire mobile ecosystem. The devices will be integral to enabling operators to upgrade networks from 2G/3G to 4G, which had previously been nearly impossible given users were restricted by price point and selection to less efficient 2G phones. Further, as more consumers transition to 3G and 4G phones, operators will have the opportunity to increase voice and data revenue, or even retool their data offerings.


Reliance Jio is a great case study showcasing the success, reach, and impact of KaiOS-powered devices. After adopting the KaiOS platform, Reliance Jio acquired tens of millions of 2G feature phone users and transitioned them to its 4G network. Consumers found the phone appealing because it was a fraction of the price of an entry-level smartphone but offered curated apps and robust functionality like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google Assistant.



According to Counterpoint, out of the more than 100 million subscribers Reliance added since the launch of the Jio Phone in late 2017, the KaiOS-powered device accounted for almost half of those net additions.


App developers, content creators, and commerce players will also reap the rewards of smart feature phones. With a new vehicle to reach a previously untapped market, the door opens in terms of generating more downloads and engagement, and offering hyper-tailored services that meet the needs of local communities. In Africa, for example, localized content like livestock tracking and mobile payment platforms have been highly impactful, and there’s room for even more solutions as more of the world’s population is able to access the internet. Additionally, advertisers can now access this once untapped market with their ads, while users receive free data in return of the ad content.


According to Counterpoint’s research, India, the Middle East, and Africa will continue to drive the most sales of smart feature phones, but there’s still global opportunity. “The feature phone market has continued to grow over the last three years. This contrasts with the smartphone market, which slowed to negative growth in 2018 for the first time ever.”


We’re thrilled that KaiOS has helped enable digital inclusion across the world, and will continue to focus on the expansion of widespread access to mobile internet and advanced digital services. Alongside our valued partners, Kai has already made important strides this year, and it’s only just begun.



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There are 76 Comments

  1. Mohammad Moin

    KaiOS will get an emerging role in the developing countries undoubtedly. Go ahead, Kai team. Best regards

  2. vishnudj

    please update jio phone f120b model

  3. Mohd Idris

    Please make Whatsapp available on Nokia 8110 in all region!

  4. leanne

    here are some areas that needs improving:
    1. text to speech is not that clear. consider using another in kaios example google tts, eloquence or vocalizer.
    power issue:
    1. a power off issue.
    steps for reproducing issue:
    1. enable read out from settings, device, accessibility
    2. set media volume to 5 then move to 15
    3. power off the device via the power menu
    you will see the device display goes blank but the device does not power off
    accessibility–screen reader
    issues with readout:
    1. messaging:
    (a) the screen reader is not reading the two field(for entering contact number)
    (b) when deleting a character the reader says clear instead of the deleted character
    (c) when the left and right nav keys are used to move through the characters, the screen reader is not speaking the characters.
    2. os interface:
    (a) the date and time dialog is not spoken when selecting values
    (b) no voice feed back is given when the screen is lock or unlocked. the reader should give a notification to inform user when screen is lock or unlock
    (c) there should be an option to adjust voice pitch
    (d) there should be an option to launch read out on first setup by pressing a key for some seconds
    (e) when soft key 1 is pressed for notifications, no voice feed back is spoken. if there is no entries the reader should speak no entries
    (f) battery status is not spoken. you have to go into settings to hear the battery stat
    (g) when in settings the screen reader is not reading the sections when using the left and right nav keys. example when you move to the device section, the voice should say “device”
    (h) the google assistant options is not spoken. example under change language no items are spoken.
    (i) call logs are not spoken it only says “not selected”. if the logs are empty, the screen reader should say “no entries”
    (j) in some dialogs, the reader will speak “soft key1 [object], soft key2 [object]”. labels should be added for these
    (k) file manager items are not spoken and when deleting photos the items are not spoken
    (l) when making a phone call and a digit is deleted the screen reader says clear but it should speak the deleted character.
    (m) when a new window is open, no voice feed back is spoken until a key is pressed. example if the user press select for all apps the reader should say “all apps”
    (n) callender is not spoken when opened you have to press select two times
    (m) this issue is with sms shortcode
    the screen reader will not read the window
    example if “*123#” is entered
    the top up menu will come up and the screen reader will not announce the options(press 1 to check balance, 2 to purchase a plan)
    this occurs on multiple carrier services
    (o) the screen reader read out stop working in the kaios store. it will no longer read the items in the store
    also when creating or signing into a kaios account it will not read
    (p) when using the note app to create a note, screen reader will not read the contents when using the up or down navigation keys.
    email app with screen reader:
    1. when reading emails the screen reader will not read the message body
    2. when deleting emails, the screen reader will not announce the key function example left soft key no, right soft key delete
    web browser:
    1. the screen reader will not announce the elements example if the focuss is on a link the screen reader should announce link
    same should apply to buttons, edit boxes and so on.
    interfacing issue:
    1. the youtube application available on the kaios store will not work with the screen reader. there is zero percent voice feedback from the screen rreader when the youtube app is launch
    2. the facebook application from the store has the same issue as above

    • Kai Helps

      Hi Leanne, this is very insightful feedback there. Could you send us a message with your device model and its software version to We would be glad to assist you. Thank you in advance!

  5. Kelly

    It’s great that KaiOS is leading the way in emerging markets, but what about people looking for a simpler phone in the US? Any word on when a full-fledged feature phone might be coming to America?

  6. Jim

    Really want WhatsApp. That would make KaiOS a proper smartphone alternative. But also what about a podcast app? Those two are the key apps for me. #tinketytonkanddownwithsmartphones

    • Kai Helps

      Jim, WhatsApp is still being prepared for the release as you may probably know. As for the podcast app, we are working on extending the range of apps supported, so we hope such an app will appear in the future. Thank you for the suggestion!

  7. Priyanshu Bhardwaj

    I am waiting for KaiOS 3.0 update. I hope it will be available till 15 August 2019

  8. Nico

    Do you develop the Facebook/WhatsApp/Twitter apps or are they 3rd party from the site originators?

    Also I think what you guys are doing is great 🙂

    • Kai Helps

      Thank you so much for your feedback, Nico! Facebook/WhatsApp/Twitter are developed by its respective owners, i.e. these are third-party apps.

  9. Long Cheng

    A user of nokia 8110 4G from China,would you please develop WeChat for us? Because this app is so important and widely used in China.

    • Kai Helps

      Hi Long, thank you for this suggestion – it has been forwarded to our product team. Feel free to let us know if you have any other suggestions or ideas – we are open to hear any of them 🙂 Thank you!

  10. this is very important information thanks

  11. عبدالرحمن الجهوري

    8110 4G لماذا لايوجد به واتساب

  12. baljinder singh


  13. Heena

    Whatsapp in jio ( india )doesn’t support emojis ,voice call and reply to chat !! Any update in near future.

    • Kai Helps

      Hello! Thank you for reaching out! Your helpful comments are much appreciated, and your feedback will help us to continually improve our OS.
      Be sure that I have forwarded your requirements to our product team so they could include them in the next software version.

  14. GK

    jio isn’t rolling out hotspot update

  15. Tokyo Abdu

    I have aquired the “MTN Uganda” 3G smart_T Phone powered by “KaiOS_version_2.5.1” …..will it be possible to update it to future versions i.e “KaiOS 3.O and beyond”?
    What MP3/MP4 Formats does its audio/video players support in case we need to download some audio/videos?

  16. Francis Martinez

    Hello, I am using a Nokia 8110 with KaiOS

    One thing I’ve noticed is that there is no way to create a playlist on the Music feature of the device. Is this a manufacturer-related error or the OS as a whole?

    Anyway, I hope this can be fixed on future updates as I’ve got quite a library for tunes that I wanted to be on Playlist-fashion order.

    Thank you

  17. Manish kag

    New apps install

  18. joe

    When can we expect Google drive, Facebook and Twitter app for jio phones

  19. I have your software on my phone illegally Michelle sanchez has done this please call

  20. KaiOS Helps

    KaiOS improve your comment moderation, people can misuse your name on your site.

  21. Shahriar

    আমি কিভাবে জিও কিংবা জিও ২ এর মতো কাইওস ফোন বাংলাদেশে পেতে পারি।নোকিয়া ৮১১০ ছাড়া।কারণ এটার দাম অনেক।যেই দামের তিন ভাগের এক ভাগে অ্যান্ড্রয়েড ফোন পাওয়া যায়।

  22. Allam

    Kaios needs more stability and speed
    The keyboard writes characters alone
    needs more apps. Like telegram and messenger.

    I got update 16 with WhatsApp but there is no facebook

    Nokia 8110 , egypt

    • Kai Helps

      Hello! Thank you for your feedback! I will forward all your requirements to our product team. As for Facebook we are working with OEMs to spread it to all regions. Apologies for inconvenience.

    • Kai Helps

      Thank you for the feedback, Allam. The reason why you didn’t get the Facebook app can be related to the OEM (the device manufacturer). Perhaps, you can contact Nokia directly for more help on the issue?
      We also appreciate your suggestions for the apps to be featured. Could you specify the issue you have with the keyboard? Thank you in advance.

  23. Brian Butler

    I have a Nokia 8110 4G phone.
    I find I am unable to change the tone for the incomming SMS and the clock alarm tone to any custom tones, only the buit in tones.
    When will this option be available?

  24. óscar

    I like KaiOS project.
    Any KaiOS-device already on sale in Spain (Europe)?

  25. i need kaios 3.0 software update on my jio phone f90m plzzzz

  26. John Tietaa Domozoro

    I use imported contacts from gmail. During some calls, the caller ID comes as unknown although I have that number in contacts. So far I have observed it on contacts with multiple numbers saved. One number shows the caller ID, the other shows up as unknown. Pls fix it. Great OS anyway.

  27. lttang

    I’m kind of disappointed you only collaborate with the largest companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. These companies are well known for selling user data/privacy to 3rd parties and trying to cover this up. Even though I understand in the end, you need to put bread on the table. At least have some alternatives to these corporate companies, since there are also a lot of people downgrading to feature phones.

    • Kai Helps

      Hi! Thank you for your feedback. We are working on improving our OS and collaboration with our partners. And we appreciate your advice.

  28. Marti

    There’s a huge amount of people not just in emerging countries but in Europe, Usa… waiting impatiently for a detox mobile system. No matter the price of the devices, we want something non social, just whatsapp (it’s not a social app to me, just the standard messaging app), banking apps, mobility apps (blablacar, uber and so), gps, spotify and not much more. Good and powerful phones that make our lifes better and don’t invite us to get addicted to the screen. Go for it!

  29. Martí

    By the way, I’m very excited with kaios and its evolution, but the website leaves a lot to be desired. Not even a list of available phones! I urge you to invest in a complete and appealing website.

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