At the moment there are only two major players when it comes to mobile operating systems and you would have had to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard about them. They are iOS, created by Apple, and Android, developed by Google.

And while these two have been dominating for years now, there is an interesting new mobile operating system that is gaining more and more traction – it is called KaiOS. In 2013 Mozilla first released what was known as the Firefox OS, as an alternative to iOS and Android, as well as the few other mobile operating systems out there, which includes Samsung’s Tizen, Microsoft’s Windows Phone, BlackBerry 10 and Jolla’s Sailfish OS. (All of who will get their own article series soon.)

In 2016, Mozilla discontinued Firefox OS, and the open-source community behind Boot to Gecko decided to fork the platform and so KaiOS was born. The main features of KaiOS are to bring support for 4G, LTE E, GPS, and W-Fi with HTML5-based apps and longer battery life to non-touch devices with optimized user interfaces, less memory and energy consumption. It already boasts the second spot in a market as big as India’s, having overtaken Apple in 2018 thanks to the popularity of the JioPhone.

The KaiOS App Store

The KaiOS App Store has around 40 apps at present, which is an incredibly low amount when you consider that the Google Play Store has around 2.6 million and Apple’s App Store sitting at almost 2 million apps. The most notable apps available are Facebook, Google Assistant, Google Search, Twitter and Youtube.

What about WhatsApp?

Officially, WhatsApp is not available across the KaiOS platform, but rather, specific to the handset manufacturer. Towards the end of 2018, the KaiOS team announced via Twitter that WhatsApp is now available on JioPhone devices. Those with devices made by other manufacturers, especially Nokia 8110 4G owners, were not as lucky, nor impressed. MTN South Africa and KaiOS have also announced that they would work on bringing WhatsApp to their yet unnamed device which is set to launch in the first quarter of 2019.

At writing, devices running KaiOS are: Alcatel OneTouch Go Flip and MyFlip, Reliance Jio Jiophone and JioPhone 2, Nokia 8110 4G, Doro 70550/7060, CAT B35, Maxcom MK241 and MK281, WizPhone WP006, as well as the unnamed MTN device.

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