WhatsApp Messenger is now available for the world's cheapest 4G feature phones, the JioPhone and JioPhone 2 from Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio. The Facebook-owned messaging platform has announced a new version of the app for the KaiOS based feature phone.
WhatsApp has started rolling out for JioPhone and JioPhone 2 users and will be available to all users by September 20. Users can download the app from the JioPhone AppStore and verify their account using their number. This is the toned down version of the app and has been designed to work on feature phones.
KaiOS is a Linux based mobile operating system that became popular with the launch of the JioPhone and was later adopted by other smartphone makers such as Nokia and Alcatel as well. As new apps such as WhatsApp and YouTube are being made available for the JioPhone, other devices that run on KaiOS should also get them.
Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, said, "During this movement of connecting the unconnected, many partners came forward to strengthen the cause. One such partner who has really stood by us from the beginning is Facebook and its ecosystem. We will be providing WhatsApp, the most used chat application in the world, on all JioPhones starting today. Jio wants to thank the Facebook and WhatsApp team for making this happen."
During the company's AGM in July, Mukesh Ambani had announced that WhatsApp would be available for JioPhone and JioPhone 2 users starting from August 15, however, it was delayed to unknown reasons and the rollout is now underway. In addition to WhatsApp, the JioPhone will also get an app for YouTube and a revamped app for Facebook.
The company had earlier announced that as part of its partnership with search giant Google, the JioPhone will get an app for Maps, Search and Google Assistant. One of the features mentioned during the device's launch was a voice assistant using which users can make calls, send messages, set reminders and more.
In its blog post, WhatsApp revealed, "The new app offers the best of WhatsApp including fast and reliable messaging and the ability to send photos and videos — all end-to-end encrypted. It's also easy to record and send voice messages with just a couple taps on the keypad."
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