Tencent Technology News, June 28 news, according to foreign media reports, Google is turning into a startup investor to further advance its goal, that Google services (such as search, maps and voice assistants) will be introduced into the billions of Internet users in emerging markets. Front and center.
Google has invested $22 million in KaiOS, a company that is committed to developing an operating system of the same name for feature phones that includes a variety of native applications and other smart phone-like services. As part of the investment, KaiOS will focus on integrating Google services such as search, maps, YouTube, and its audio assistants into more KaiOS devices. Earlier this year, Nokia phones running the KaiOS system introduced Google Apps.
KaiOS CEO Sebastien Codeville stated in a statement: "This funding will help us to quickly develop and deploy the globally deployed KaiOS system's smart feature phones." It is able to connect with the huge population still unable to access the Internet, especially in emerging markets. ”
Today, our mobile world is being dominated by smartphones: Last year, smartphone sales were about 1.6 billion. However, feature phones are also continuing to grow: It is estimated that in 2017 approximately 450 to 500 million feature phones will be sold. And compared with smartphones, feature phone sales have grown faster.
Functional phones running the KaiOS system perform well and are becoming increasingly popular in markets where feature phones still dominate. In India, they have surpassed Apple’s iOS device and become the second most popular device after Android. KaiOS said that so far more than 40 million feature phones running the KaiOS system have been sold.
Google’s investment in KaiOS can be seen as a way to introduce its services to new mobile phone users who may eventually upgrade to smart phone users. However, when these users stay in the feature phone category, Google still has the opportunity to retain these users.
KaiOS CEO Calderville said: "We are very happy to cooperate with Google to provide services on more mobile devices. Installing a smart voice assistant on a cheap mobile phone is a revolutionary move because it helps to overcome the limitations of the keyboard. ”
KaiOS is a US project that began in 2017. It was born on the basis of Mozilla's failed Firefox OS experiment, which is a branch of the Linux code base. Firefox OS was originally intended to be the basis for a new wave of HTML-5 low-cost smartphones. Although these devices and the broader ecosystem have never been truly successful, KaiOS is much better.
KaiOS provides operating systems for handsets made by original equipment manufacturers such as Nokia, Micromax, and Alcatel, and partners with operators such as Sprint and AT&T, which has offices in North America, Europe, and Asia.
But so far, KaiOS's most important deployment has been to work with India's Reliance Telecom, a telecom company that overturned the Indian market with cheap 4G data plans. Reliance Telecom independently launched a series of KaiOS mobile phones and combined them with low-cost data packages. According to reports, KaiOS’s share in the Indian mobile phone market has jumped to 15%, surpassing Apple’s iOS system, second only to Android.
In high-growth markets such as India alone, KaiOS’s market share is enough to interest Google. Google's "1 billion users," said VP of product management, Anjali Joshi (Anjali Joshi), in a statement: "We want to make sure that everyone can use Google applications and services. Use a desktop, smartphone, or feature phone. With the success of JioPhone, we are very pleased to cooperate with KaiOS to further improve the ability of global feature phone users to obtain information. ”
In addition, Google's "1 billion users" division is committed to customizing Google experiences and services to meet the needs of emerging Internet users in emerging markets, including the introduction of new services such as community applications and successful public WiFi projects.
Although Google continues to develop its Android smartphone platform, it has long advocated extending the service to other platforms, as does KaiOS. In February of this year, KaiOS announced the addition of Google search, maps, and voice assistance to the new Nokia 8110 feature phone. It appears that Google’s agreement will be extended to all models as part of Google’s investment.
Obviously, Google services are not the only service on the KaiOS phone. Earlier this year, it added applications for Twitter and Facebook, and integrated proprietary KaiOS applications with more basic HTML-5 applications.
Google’s investment in KaiOS is the latest in a series of direct start-up transactions with the US technology giant, and is commensurate with the investment of GV and CapitalG, two of its investment groups. Google also supports the concierge service Dunzo, which has partnered with operator Orange to invest in and may acquire more startups in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.