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Google invest $22m in feature phone OS

Series A funding in KaiOS announced with plans to make Google features available on feature phones

Google invest $22m in feature phone OS
India's Jio Phone uses the KaiOS.

Google has invested $22m into KaiOS Technologies Inc, the developer which is driving the feature phone operating system KaiOS.

Google announced the Series A funding, as well as plans to make popular Google applications available on KaiOS.

KaiOS is the successor to Firefox OS, the Mozilla Foundation's planned operating system for smartphones. Mozilla launched the Linux OS in 2013, but abandoned plans for a mobile phone. KaiOS has been founded to continue the work to make a OS that can bring new capabilities to feature phones, while keeping within the lower specifications of feature platforms. The company aims to have KaiOS on 100 million devices by the end of the year.

"This funding will help us fast-track development and global deployment of KaiOS-enabled smart feature phones, allowing us to connect the vast population that still cannot access the internet, especially in emerging markets," said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies.

In addition to the investment, Google and KaiOS have also agreed to work together to make the Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search available to KaiOS users. These apps have been developed specifically for the KaiOS platform, which is entirely web-based, using open standards such as HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS.

"We want to ensure that Google apps and services are available to everyone, whether they are using desktops, smartphones, or feature phones." said Anjali Joshi, Vice-President, Product Management, Next Billion Users. "Following the success of the JioPhones, we are excited to work with KaiOS to further improve access to information for feature phone users around the world."

"We're excited to work with Google to deliver its services on more mobile devices," continued Sebastien Codeville. "Having an intelligent voice assistant on an affordable mobile phone is truly revolutionary as it helps overcome some of the limitations a keypad brings."

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