The JioPhone was all the rage last year, with its promise of being the cheapest 4G phone on the planet and the connectivity prospects that brings. While the first 4G feature phone by disruptor Reliance Jio had quite a few things to offer, one expected one was nowhere to be found. WhatsApp has not featured on the KaiOS-powered 4G feaure phone, yet, but this may not be the case for long.
WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging application, is reportedly working on a KaiOS compatible application. KaiOS is a Linux-based operating system that is used with feature phones. References about a new native KaiOS app in works had been found in the latest WhatsApp beta for Windows Phone 2.18.38, indicating the presence of a new platform that can be connected to WhatsApp servers, said a report by WABetaInfo.
While there is no word on the functionalities that WhatsApp will bring to KaiOS, or when it will be launched, it should sure bring give JioPhone users a reason to smile. But not only JioPhone, a WhatsApp version compatible with KaiOS will also be something prospective Nokia 8110 4G buyers can cheer for. Yes, you read it right.
The Nokia 8110 4G runs Smart Feature OS which is based on KaiOS. WhatsApp coming to the JioPhone would mean that the instant messaging application can very well make its way to the new feature phone from Nokia.
HMD Global showcased the next-generation avatar 'banana phone' for the first time at Mobile World Congress 2018 in February earlier this year. The handset does not support WhatsApp as of now. The new 4G feature phone on the block rocks a Snapdragon 205 chipset with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to 64GB via microSD card. The Nokia 8110 4G is expected to be available for purchase in May later this year. The phone will be available at EUR 79, or around Rs 6,300.
Notably, WhatsApp is going to end support for the Symbian S40 operating system, which used to power earlier Nokia mid-range feature phones, from next December 31. WhatsApp has also withdrawn support for BlackBerry OS and Windows Phone 8.
Bringing a connectivity option associated with smartphones to these 'dumbphones' is likely to make them more desirable. While there is no shortage of hype for devices like the JioPhone or Nokia 8110 4G, owing to reasons varying from value for money to nostalgia factor, lack of applications we have grown accustomed to often proves to be a deal-breaker.
KaiOS Technologies has recently entered into collaborations with several technology majors including Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Following this, Facebook launched a native KaiOS app about a month ago, available on JioPhone now. The cheap 4G handset already has a special version of Google Assistant.