KaiOS puts internet access and smartphone features within reach of a much larger group of people.
Despite tremendous technological advancements, the internet is still failing to reach billions of people in emerging markets. Kai’s mission is get everyone involved in the digital revolution. By having minimized technical resource requirements, our OS allows our partners to ship devices with these features to customers who could only afford basic phones or even no phones. This way they get access to smartphone-like features on affordable devices.
KaiOS is the only operating system that can run on affordable, very low memory devices while still providing a good user experience and smartphone-like features. This applies to the features that are available to the end user, but also to the backend features available to carriers and ODM/OEM, such as FOTA (over the air updates), network quality monitoring, NFC, and LTE broadcast (used in the JioPhone).
Our product is also unique in that it has been designed specifically with non-touch devices in mind.
KaiOS is unique as it is based on HTML5. This allows app and web developers to easily port their existing content to the platform. Most users now have access to unlimited data, which includes access to free messaging services, live TV, music streaming, Facebook, YouTube, video calling, and many other services. Their devices are also ready for services like mobile payment through NFC.
By the end of 2017 the Kai OS will be live on 30 million devices, mainly in India. We will be adding at least an additional 50 million users in Q1 and Q2 of 2018 in other Asian, European, and African markets. The OS is highly scalable because it serves a need for all involved stakeholders: the users and our partners, e.g. the carriers, ODM/OEMs and app developers. Carriers have to migrate users from 2G/3G to 4G/LTE. There is no viable alternative to KaiOS, ensuring they will push this to their customer base.
The GSMA’s report “Accelerating affordable smartphone ownership in emerging markets” shows that a large group of people - especially in emerging markets - is “stuck”; they want internet access and advanced digital features, but prior to KaiOS there were no viable solutions on the market that can provide these services at a price point that they can afford. In emerging markets this group is up to 30 - 50%, but even in matured markets like the USA, still 18% of users are on feature phones and this number is staying relatively stable. These trends and statistics, combined with the fact that there is no viable alternative, give us great confidence that we will go from 30 million users by the end of this year to at least 150 million users by the end of next year.
The first step to make KaiOS sustainable for the long term is having support from key industry players. This step has largely been completed through strategic partnerships with all the major players in every area that’s important for the sustainability of an OS (chipset makers, ODM/OEMs, carriers, apps / content).
The second step is to scale up fast to reach critical mass. This is being achieved through our launching partnership with Reliance Jio, as well as some of the larger manufacturers and carriers that we’ll be announcing partnerships with at MWC. Key to this step is also that we don’t charge partners for the OS, which helps fast adoption. HTML5 also plays a role here, as that makes it easier for content partners to bring their apps and other content to KaiOS.
The third step is having a viable and sustainable business model. We achieve this partially through service fees charged to partners (for example for FOTA) and partially through our proprietary advertising system (KaiAds) that’s developed in-house. This caters specifically to the needs of advertisers and users in emerging markets and also makes use of the unique capabilities we have as an OS.
The fourth and last step is the technical foundation of KaiOS, which has been created with a variety of connected devices in mind, not just phones. We’re not planning to venture “upwards” into smartphone territory, but are instead aiming to go “horizontal” and capture a large share of the OS market for IoT devices.
KaiOS is also designed to power other devices, such as cars, TVs, wearables, and other connected devices. The first development for such projects is underway with some key partners; we see this as the largest area for growth.