KaiOS Technologies, maker of a mobile operating system for smart feature phones, together with Vodacom, Azumi and MediaTek announced partnership in Tanzania, launching the first affordable smart feature phone, Smart Kitochi.
This collaboration marks a major milestone for the African market, as it’s the first time all four mobile powerhouses have come together on a project with the goal of eliminating the digital divide for the billions of Africans still disconnected.
“We launched in the African market a year ago with a focus on ensuring first-time mobile users have access to affordable solutions, and we’re excited to expand these efforts into Tanzania alongside Vodacom, Azumi and MediaTek,” said Sebastien Codeville, CEO of Kai Technologies. “The digital divide is very prevalent across Africa, but we know devices like the Smart Kitochi, will positively impact people’s lives. We’re also focused on building a content ecosystem through our developer portal and supporting African developers, through developer workshops across the continent. These efforts ensure content and services are valuable and relevant to each individual market.”
The Smart Kitochi, launched by Vodacom Tanzania PLC, Tanzania’s leading cellular network company, is powered by KaiOS, starting at a discounted price of TZS 48,000 ($20). The device comes with a special offer, which includes a monthly bundle of 4GB data, 100 mins talk time and 500 SMS for the first six months.
The Smart Kitochi also provides access to popular apps such as WhatsApp, the Google Assistant, Facebook, YouTube, and many other unique native content, giving more Tanzanians access to a previously inaccessible digital society, via the KaiStore. The Smart Kitochi runs on Mediatek’s highly integrated chipset platforms, enabling 3G and 4G connectivity and other smartphone-like features such as Wi-Fi, GPS, and boasts a 1400mAh battery, which powers up to six hours of talk time.
“We’re particularly encouraged by this newly forged partnership because together we’re able to guarantee African users a seamless mobile content experience,” said Tayshira Khan, Head of Azumi Mobile Africa. “The Smart Kitochi is removing barriers to mobile adoption, and eliminating the digital divide in Tanzania, a country heavily impacted by its negative effects.”
Since hitting the shelves on November 1st, the Smart Kitochi has been popular among Tanzanian people, and the sales for the smart feature phone have surpassed expectations within two weeks of the launch, so volumes have been ramped up to meet the demands.
“Given this is the first device of its kind in Tanzania, it’s very exciting to see that people are already embracing the product with open arms, and are enthusiastically transitioning to the digital world,” said Sylvester Moyo, executive head of Terminals of Vodacom International Business. “With the competitive price and special data bundle offer, we anticipate market adoption will gain further momentum as the acceptance of the product features increases. This launch forms part of our bigger strategy to contribute towards positive economic development through bridging the digital divide.”
KaiOS is a light operating system, which enables a new category of affordable smart feature phones that require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience. It supports 3G + 4G/LTE, Wi-Fi, GPS and Hotspot. KaiOS-enabled phones come with popular apps and services like WhatsApp, Google Assistant, Facebook, YouTube, and Google Maps, as well as a store for apps called the KaiStore with over two hundred essential apps and counting, from global and local content providers. It is now the third largest mobile operating system worldwide, running on over 100 million devices shipped across Europe, Africa, Asia and Americas.
“Not only does this partnership demonstrate KaiOS’ support for MediaTek’s high performance chipsets, but also shows our commitment to developing economic and quality mobile solutions to emerging markets,” said Rami Osman of MediaTek. “This device in specific is the first step in strengthening the Smart Feature Phone proposition in East Africa. Following this launch we will continue to support Vodacom users across its footprint to unlock the potential of connecting to internet and communicating with each other using very affordable devices”