JioPhone, Reliance Jio’s 4G-enabled feature phone and KaiOS, the operating system powering it, have been the two radical entrants to the world of telephony last year. With KaiOS, Reliance Jio was successfully able to morph its 4G feature phone into a smart feature phone that connects with select apps and responds to voice commands.
While JioPhone comes with apps like Facebook and Google Assistant, it lacks one really important app – WhatsApp. Since its launch last year and limited availability, consumers have been complaining the lack of WhatsApp on the device is a disappointing experience. However, that could change very soon.
According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is working to introduce its messaging app on the smart feature phone platform soon. This should not come as a surprise since KaiOS has already pocketed Facebook as a supported app developer and WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and it would be finding value in bringing the messaging platform to this new and growing ecosystem.
The report adds that important references to the development of a native application for KaiOS had been found in the latest WhatsApp beta for Windows Phone 2.18.38. This indicates the presence of a new platform that can be connected to WhatsApp servers. It is not immediately known when the app will be officially announced and it is also not clear what functionalities it will support at the time of launch.
The arrival of WhatsApp on KaiOS will be in stark contrast to the platform’s approach of cutting down on redundant platforms like BlackBerry and Nokia’s Symbian. WhatsApp will stop supporting Symbian S40 platform on December 31 and it seems the support will migrate to KaiOS instead.
WhatsApp is currently being used by over 1.5 billion users every month and it makes sense for the platform to support KaiOS since it has reached over 6 million users in the form of JioPhone. With Nokia also adopting KaiOS for its resurrected Nokia 8110 4G, the KaiOS is expected to grow in terms of market share in the next few quarters. In the past, WhatsApp has refused to comment on bringing its platform to KaiOS but it seems to be more likely than ever before.