The MTN Smart S KaiOS phone.
TL;DR
  • WhatsApp voice calls are now available for KaiOS-powered feature phones.
  • The functionality comes via version 2.2110.41 of WhatsApp and requires a device with 512MB of RAM.

WhatsApp is available on smartphones and computers, but it’s also been available on the KaiOS feature phone platform for a few years now. So you don’t need to buy a potentially pricey smartphone if you want to use the service.

Now, WhatsApp and the KaiOS team have announced the availability of WhatsApp voice calls on the platform too. The addition comes via an update to WhatsApp on KaiOS, namely version 2.2110.41, and is available globally.

“We want to support communities who are on lighter operating systems in many places around the world,” WhatsApp COO Matt Idema noted in a joint press statement.

It’s worth noting that the only requirement for WhatsApp voice calls on KaiOS (aside from the requisite app version) is 512MB of RAM. So devices like India’s JioPhone should run it just fine. Unfortunately, some KaiOS devices like the $17 MTN Smart S we checked out a few years ago don’t meet this requirement.

Nevertheless, this is a pretty big deal as it lowers the barrier of entry for WhatsApp calls from smartphones to much cheaper feature phones. And feature phone users simply need a little mobile data or a Wi-Fi hotspot to make and receive calls via the messaging app.