WhatsApp is now available for the JioPhone and JioPhone 2 feature phones. WhatsApp has released a dedicated version of its messaging app for the KaiOS operating system that runs on the JioPhone handsets. The app will be available to all users of JioPhone and JioPhone 2 by September 20th.
Apps like Facebook, YouTube and Google Maps are already available for the JioPhone. The news about WhatsApp coming to JioPhone had first surfaced in July when its arrival was confirmed by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) at the 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM). The app was initially expected to debut on August 15th.
WhatsApp for KaiOS is a specially designed version for phones with keypads. The end-to-end encrypted messaging platform sports a simple interface. The current version of WhatsApp for JioPhone handsets can be used for sending photos, videos, and recording voice messages. Android and iOS versions of WhatsApp carry support for UPI-based payments. This feature is not available on the KaiOS version of WhatsApp. Like the Android and iOS iterations of the app, JioPhone users are required to install it and then verify their phone number to use it.
“Millions of people across India can now use WhatsApp private messaging on the best-in-class JioPhone across India,” said Chris Daniels, Vice President, WhatsApp. “By designing this new app for KaiOS, we hope to expand the ability for people to communicate with anyone in India and around the world by offering the best messaging experience possible to JioPhone users.”
The Facebook-owned messaging platform has been available for Android and iOS almost since its inception. WhatsApp is also available on other platforms such as BlackBerry OS, Symbian OS and Series 40, but their support is expected to end by the end of this year. The Linux-based KaiOS is a relatively new OS that is available on a handful of devices such as the Reliance JioPhone and Nokia 8110 4G. In July, KaiOS dethroned iOS to become the second-largest operating system in India after Android.
WhatsApp for JioPhone can be download from the AppStore. The messaging app may not appear for all the JioPhone users at the same time. As mentioned above, all JioPhone and JioPhone 2 users are expected will be able to download and install WhatsApp by September 20th.
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. The result of one such partnership is out for the world to see today. 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.”
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