After mauling telcos, Mukesh Ambani now fires at operating systems On cheap data and freebies, Mukesh AmbaniR6;s Reliance Jio forced its way into the telecom market last year and scared the incumbent, eating into their subscriber base and revenue.

Now its JioPhone is likely to emerge as a strong challenger of mobile phone operating systems. That’s due to the operating system KaiOS that powers JioPhone taking over iOS in India and becoming the No. 2 operating system after Android. KaiOS has gained a 15% market share in India over the last one year, according to market intelligence firm DeviceAtlas.

“The natural conclusion is another OS eating into their market dominance, and our data reflects this. The new entrant — KaiOS — has already overtaken iOS as the second most-used OS in India. With 15% of total traffic, it beats Apple devices into third (with 9.6%),” says the latest DeviceAtlas report.

Android rules the Indian market at close to 70% share. But KaiOS is eating into the share of both the operating systems. “Both iOS and Android lost market share in India. In a country of over 1.3 billion people, a few percentage points can make a huge difference to a manufacturers bottom line,” says the report. It says the popularity of KaiOS stems from the massive success of Reliance’s Jio phones.

According to Counterpoint Research, KaiOS has been able to push the feature phone demand in India, also helping Reliance Jio to become the leading feature phone brand with its 4G-powered JioPhone in Q1 .

“KaiOS has helped bridge the digital divide for hundreds of millions of feature phone users who were not upgrading to smartphones due to steep learning curve or pricing or digital illiteracy,” Tarun Pathak of Counterpoint told ET.

KaiOS works with manufacturers like TCL, HMD Global, and Micromax and has partnerships with carriers such as Reliance Jio, Sprint, AT&;T, and T-Mobile. KaiOS powered phones have grown 11400% in just one year with shipments close to 23 units in Q1 2018, according to Counterpoint, which said that less people bought smartphones in Q1 than last year partly due to the uptick in feature phone demand driven by the rise of KaiOS powered phones and HMD’s Nokia brand comeback.

Hong Kong-based KaiOS Technologies Inc., the developer of the KaiOS operating system for smart feature phones, last month received a $22 million investment from Google as part of the the company’s ‘Next Billion Users’ programme. Following the partnership, Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search will be available to KaiOS users.



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