Google is curving startup investor to further an objective of putting Google business like examination, delineates, and its utter helper breast and center for the next billion internet users in rising markets. It has invested $22 million into KaiOS, the company that has built an eponymous operating system for piece phones that carries a range of native apps and other smartphone-like business. As part of the investment, KaiOS will be working on merging Google assistances like pursuit, planneds, YouTube and its utter deputy into more KaiOS manoeuvres, after first announcing Google apps for KaiOS-powered Nokia phones earlier this year.

“This funding will help us fast-track occurrence and world deployment of KaiOS-enabled smart piece telephones, allowing us to connect the gigantic population that still cannot access the internet, particularly in surfacing markets, ” said KaiOS CEO Sebastien Codeville in a statement.

Our portable world is reigned today by smartphones: there used to be about 1.6 billion of them sold last year. But feature phones have continued to move, very: it’s estimated that there were about 450 million-5 00 million of them shipped in 2017. And their auctions are actually proliferating faster right now than their souped-up cousins.

KaiOS-powered telephones toy squarely in the latter category, and they are gaining resistance in markets where piece telephones still hold sway. In India, they have overtaken Apple’s iOS to became the second-most popular maneuvers after Android handsets. KaiOS tells us that there have been more than 40 million KaiOS phones shipped to-date.

Google’s KaiOS investment could be seen as a way of introducing its services to feature phone users who might eventually graduate to smartphones. Nonetheless, there is also remit for containing on to these useds even as they stay in the facet phone category, which continues to evolve and become more functional.

“We’re excited working in cooperation with Google to deliver its services on most mobile manoeuvres, ” articulated Codeville, the KaiOS CEO. “Having an intelligent articulate assistant on an economical mobile phone is truly revolutionary as it helps overcome some of the limitations a keypad brings.”

A Nokia device feeing KaiO

KaiOS is a U.S.-based activity that started in 2017, built on the ashes of Mozilla’s failed Firefox OS venture, as a crotch of the Linux codebase. Firefox OS was intended to be the basis of a new wave of HTML-5, low-cost smartphones. And while those machines and the wider ecosystem never certainly took off, KaiOS has fared significantly better.

KaiOS dominances phones made by OEMs including Nokia( HMD ), Micromax and Alcatel, and it works with carriers including Sprint and AT& T — it weighs departments in Northern america, Europe and Asia. But its most significant deployment to date has been with India’s Reliance Jio, the challenger telco that interrupted the Indian marketplace with economical 4G data packs.

Reliance Jio furnishes its own collection of KaiOS handsets, and coupling that with its low-cost data parcels, KaiOS’ share of India’s phone market has reportedly pranced to 15 percent — outdistancing Apple’s iOS in the process and putting it second behind only Android.( Jio’s own designs have actually increased the number of peculiarity phones in India, such has been its impact in the country .)

That market share alone in a high-growth market like India is likely enough to pique Google’s interest.

“We want to ensure that Google apps and services are available to everyone, whether they are using desktops, smartphones, or piece phones.” enunciated Anjali Joshi, VP of Product Management for Google’s Next Billion Users division, in a statement posted. “Following the success of the JioPhones, we are provoked to work with KaiOS to further improve access to information for boast phone users around the world.”

Beyond this, the Next Billion business unit works on customizing the Google experience and services to fit the needs of new internet users in emerging marketplaces, including the launch of brand-new assistances like this neighborhoods app and a successful public WiFi planned.

While Google continues to develop its Android smartphone platform, it has long been an advocate of expanding its services to other programmes, too, and that’s been the case with KaiOS.

In February, KaiOS announced that it would be adding Google Search, Google Maps and the Google Voice Assistant to the new Nokia 8110 aspect telephone, and it seems that this is the Google agreement that will be expanded to all modelings as part of Google’s investment.

To be clear, Google services are not the only ones on KaiOS. It lent apps for Twitter and Facebook earlier this year, and it mixes dedicated KaiOS apps — WhatsApp is said to be coming — with others that are more basic HTML-5 web apps.

Google’s investing in KaiOS is the latest in a line of direct startup lots from the U.S. tech giant that sit alongside assets make use of GV and CapitalG, its two financing appendages. Google has also backed concierge busines Dunzo and is partnering with the carrier Orange to make investments and potentially acquire startups in Europe, the Countries of the middle east and Africa.

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