Google invested $22 million in KaiOS Technologies, which the company said will enable it to “fast track development and global deployment” of its operating system designed for “smart feature phones”.
While stating its platform is “not Firefox OS”, KaiOS is based on the original Mozilla project with staff from that team working on its engineering and user experience. It said the OS has “developed into something much more robust and expanded” than the Firefox platform.
In addition to the investment, Google and KaiOS Technologies will work to make Google Assistant, Maps, YouTube and Search available for KaiOS users.
“Having an intelligent voice assistant on an affordable mobile phone is truly revolutionary as it helps overcome some of the limitations a keypad brings,” Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies, said.
KaiOS is the platform used by Indian operator Reliance Jio in its JioPhones. The company said it also works with TCL Communications, Doro, HMD Global and Micromax, along with operators Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile US.
The platform is also used in the Nokia 8110 feature phone announced by HMD Global at Mobile World Congress.