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The second-largest mobile OS in India rhymes with iOS, but isn't iOS

It is unlikely that KaiOS will be the top mobile OS in India, though it gained significant market share compared to this point last year.

Published onJuly 12, 2018

  • Android remains the most popular mobile OS in India, though KaiOS occupies second place.
  • KaiOS’ drastic increase in market share could be attributed to its numerous partnerships and increased demand for feature phones.

iOS and Android might be the most popular mobile operating systems in the world, but do not tell that to India. Even though Android remains tops in India, relative newcomer KaiOS recently overtook iOS and became the number two operating system, reported The Economic Times.

According to research firm DeviceAtlas, Android is at the top with 70 percent market share. Even though it is a distant second, KaiOS gained 15 percent market share from last year and currently sits at 17.2 percent market share.

iOS rounds out the top three with 9.3 percent market share.

There is no one reason why KaiOS exploded in popularity. Four of the top 10 most used devices in India run KaiOS, while Android and iOS lost market share in India as a result.

Another reason is the increasing demand for feature phones in India. According to Counterpoint Research, almost 23 million KaiOS-powered devices shipped in Q1 2018.

“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,” said Tarun Pathak of Counterpoint.

You can even point to KaiOS’ numerous work relationships as a reason for its success. KaiOS works with manufacturers like TCL, HMD Global, and Micromax. It also partners with carriers like Reliance Jio, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

KaiOS even received a $22 million investment from Google in late June, which allows the OS to offer Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search to its users.

It will be interesting to see where KaiOS goes from here and whether Android Go will eventually make a dent in India. For now, it seems that KaiOS is no longer the small player it was at this point last year.

Related: KaiOS is doing well in India, but it’s pulling some big numbers in US too

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