The Feature Phone Strikes Back

While global smartphone shipments are declining for the second consecutive quarter, feature phone numbers in many markets are up. Leading the charge is the JioPhone in India, but with models like Nokia’s 8110 “banana” phone now coming to market, further surprises are on the horizon.

KaiOS powers all of these devices, so let’s have a look at how our flagship product is enabling a revival of the feature phone category.

Put 2G Networks to Rest

Through our deep understanding of the needs of carriers, phone manufacturers, and consumers, our team at Kai saw an opening for the 4G feature phone looming ahead. As 2G and 3G networks became a financial burden for carriers, these companies also saw 15–50 percent of their customer base unable to upgrade to a smartphone in the coming years.

Together with our partners, we anticipated the solution to a problem that nobody else was solving: how to migrate customers from 2G/3G to 4G, when everyone else was focused on smartphones.

Bring LTE Technology to the Masses

There are only two carriers in the world today who have the ability and resources to do LTE broadcast — Reliance Jio and Verizon. Instead of the carriers having to send a data stream to each subscriber, this technology allows them to broadcast an event to all of its subscribers in a specific area. This is a win-win for both carrier and consumer, as it saves everyone data costs.

Make it Affordable for Everyone

Besides all these technological innovations, the other major factor in revolutionizing the mobile phone market with the Jiophone is affordability. It’s one thing to pack a phone with the latest technology, it’s another to do so at a fraction of the cost of a smartphone.

This is the most important feat of KaiOS-powered phones — optimizing our operating system for a low-memory feature phone.

It has been a win-win-win for everyone involved. People benefit with affordable access to the internet and digital services. For example, the JioPhone in India created competition in the mobile industry, driving overall phone prices down as companies vie for customers.

Kai continues to fulfill our mission of closing the digital divide, by making access to digital products and services a reality for everyone — and together with partners, 4G is an important part of our strategy.