KaiOS can compete with Android and iOS

Nokia's feature phone is aimed at a billion potential customers

The fact that roughly half of the world's population lives without the internet is something most people forget. Thanks to KaiOS, feature phones now offer numerous connectivity options, internet access and OTT services and apps for social networks.

Let's take a quick look at the cellular market: 75 percent of mobile data traffic goes through Android devices; with iOS it is 22 percent and other mobile operating systems together only make up a measly 2.3 percent.

Based on these statistics, the feature phone hardly seems worthy of note at first glance. The chances are much better than you initially think. Every year the sales figures for feature phones drop by almost 13 percent. In contrast, sales of modern feature phones with 4G support are increasing by 13 percent per year. And that is exactly what Nokia's billion-dollar target group is - a new generation of Internet users.

Focusing on this category is an extremely smart move. Because Nokia not only influences the communications landscape of tomorrow, it is also the most realistic way to stand up to Android and iOS.

Via CounterPoint Research

Apple doesn't sell any feature phones at all and Samsung's market share is relatively small. Google has not yet ventured into this area, but has invested $ 22 million in KaiOS - the operating system for tomorrow's feature phones. The Indian wireless operator Reliance Jio owns 16 percent of the company shares, in which the company has invested 7 million US dollars. And last May, Cathay Innovation put a whopping $ 50 million in a Series B funding round.

Between its release in 2017 and the end of 2018, KaiOS 'impact grew from zero to 100 million smartphones, CEO Sebastien Codeville mentioned to Quartz. KaiOS is now the second most popular mobile operating system in India - even ahead of iOS.

Since then, KaiOS has concentrated more on African markets and hopes to quickly gain market share through a partnership with Tecno, which belongs to the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Transsion.

KaiOS doesn't want to be seen as an iOS or Android competitor, however, as it offers something completely different to its users. "We are not working on a large ecosystem because we are simply not able to compete with full smartphone operating systems," said Codeville.

Nokia 2019 IFA announcement

Nokia has introduced a number of new devices. The Nokia 6.2 and Nokia 7.2 are mid-range smartphones with which the manufacturer now wants to assert itself in a highly competitive market.

The highlight, however, is the Nokia 3310, a 4G flip phone that costs just $ 20. The 2.8-inch display may appear small, but the integrated Google Assistant support is interesting.

Voice control is ideal for smartphones with little functionality. Thanks to the Google Assistant, the mobile phone can offer access to information, services and apps that would otherwise not be available to users, even without a high-resolution display. This could also make the devices more interesting for existing smartphone users.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, explained in a blog post in 2015 his strategy for the one billion users who will have access to the Internet in the future. “We want to help bring these one billion Indians online so that they can access the entire web with all its information and possibilities.” At the time, Google thought that cheap smartphones were the solution. But now feature phones with smart functions like Google Assistant have proven to be the better solution.

The fact that Nokia is primarily concentrating on feature phones at IFA 2019 could point to a future vision and long-term strategy for the company. The Nokia 6.2 is a beautiful smartphone with great features like a Zeiss lens - but because the mid-range segment is so competitive, I think it's more worthwhile to focus on affordable devices that allow absolutely everyone to access the Internet can get.