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KaiOS Technologies partners with Mozilla to improve Gecko

Graphic with KaiOS Technologies' and Mozilla's logos.

KaiOS Technologies and Mozilla have announced a partnership that will see the Gecko browser engine improved on KaiOS. According to the announcement, developers from the firms will ensure that future versions of Gecko are compatible on KaiOS devices enabling a “more diverse and open mobile internet.”

If you’re not familiar with KaiOS, it is an operating system that bridges the gap between feature phones and smartphones. It comes with a selection of apps such as WhatsApp and YouTube but doesn’t offer as comprehensive a suite of apps as Android; it’s ideal for those buying their first internet-connected device. KaiOS is a fork of Boot to Gecko OS (B2G OS) which itself was a fork of the now-defunct Firefox OS which was built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

The list of new features a supported Gecko engine brings such as better WebGL support.

As KaiOS is a fork of B2G OS, the Gecko engine is a vital part of the infrastructure. By establishing the partnership, KaiOS devices will stay secure and performant, an immediate benefit will be support for TLS 1.3. As Gecko evolves, these devices will gain new capabilities such as better PWA (Progressive Web App) and WebAssembly support.

Commenting on the partnership, Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS Technologies, said:

“We’re excited to be working closely with Mozilla. Mozilla’s work on Boot 2 Gecko served as the backbone of KaiOS from the beginning. Through this partnership we can enable new features, improve security, and ensure better overall performance of KaiOS. Broadly speaking, these updates will mean many first-time internet users gain access to more of the web’s advanced digital services on devices that are affordable, reliable, and secure.”

If you’re in a more developed country where Android or iOS dominate the mobile market share you may be forgiven for never having have heard of KaiOS. In developing countries, where people are just coming online, however, KaiOS is prevalent and installed on 120 million devices worldwide. The firm revealed that its KaiStore currently has more than 400 apps designed for low-memory hardware; some of these apps include Google Assistant, WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, and Google Maps.

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