For the longest time, feature phones did not have an access to some apps like WhatsApp, this has been a disadvantage to the segment of the society that are not able to afford smartphones. This has meant that they are not able to enjoy the ease of communication that comes with social media.
However, this will soon be a thing of the past with the launch of WhatsApp on KaiOS, a phone operating system used on feature phones. WhatsApp can now be downloaded from the KaiStore for KaiOS devices with 256MB or 512MB of RAM, and it will come preinstalled on select phones towards the end of the year. The KaiOS version of the app supports both voice recording and messaging, and it includes end-to-end encryption just like it does on Android and iOS.
KaiOS is a lightweight operating system that’s currently available on a small number of feature phones. The operating system actually started its life as a fork of Firefox OS after Firefox gave up on the idea of a phone OS. The operating system has since attracted investment from Google, and voice-typing powered by Google Assistant arrived on the platform earlier this year.
In Kenya, the only phone that is widely available and has the KaiOS, is the Nokia 8110 which is available for sale on Jumia. On this phone, KaiOS brings several smartphone features to a basic feature phone design, such as Google Search, YouTube and Google Assistant. It also supports hardware features like 4G, Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth.
WhatsApp has been gradually released for select KaiOS devices over the past year. In April, WhatsApp was made available on the Nokia 8110, but only in India. Yesterday, marked the first time it is available in a broader worldwide release.