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KaiOS integrates WhatsApp to extend smart feature phones reach

KaiOS integrates WhatsApp to extend smart feature phones reach

KaiOS Technologies, maker of KaiOS operating system for smart feature phones, and Facebook have announced WhatsApp's availability for download in the KaiStore, on both 512MB and 256MB RAM devices.

According to the companies, by Q3 2019, KaiOS phones will have WhatsApp preinstalled upon shipment.

Matt Idema, chief operating officer of WhatsApp, said, "KaiOS has been a critical partner in helping us bring private messaging to smart feature phones around the world. Providing WhatsApp on KaiOS helps bridge the digital gap to connect friends and family in a simple, reliable and secure way."

According to KaiOS, WhatsApp s used by over 1.5 billion people and the social messaging platform was first launched on the KaiOS-powered JioPhone in India in September 2018.

Sebastien Codeville, chief executive officer of KaiOS Technologies, "We're thrilled to bring WhatsApp to the KaiOS platform and extend such an important means of communication to a brand new demographic. We strive to make the internet and digital services accessible for everyone and offering WhatsApp on affordable smart feature phones is a giant leap towards this goal."

KaiOS adds that in Africa the KaiOS-powered MTN Smart and Orange Sanza devices are currently available in 22 countries.

In June 2019 KaiOS confirmed Orange's participation in a recent Series B funding round led by Cathay Innovation.

According to a statement by KaiOS, the added participation of Orange in the Series B investment strengthens its leadership in the rapidly growing smart feature phone segment, in a market where 827 million people in Africa still have no access to the internet.

Alioune Ndiaye, chief executive officer Orange Middle East & Africa, is quoted as saying: "Today the two main barriers to internet access are the lack of infrastructure, for which Orange is investing one billion euros per year, and the cost of the device. As part of our effort to overcome this second barrier, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to develop our partnership with Kai through a direct investment. Providing our customers with access to affordable devices is a crucial step in our ambition to democratise access to the Internet in Africa."

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