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I’ve been analytical about Kai OS for a while now. It’s been growing a lot and is now the 3rd best accepted smartphone operating arrangement on the planet. Actuality ashore with alone two; Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, anytime aback Microsoft gave up on smartphone operating systems… has been affectionate of disconcerting. Some may altercate that actuality ashore with alone two smartphone ecosystems will achievement innovation, and that’s absolutely a accurate concern.
While Android is absolutely a airy almsman to Microsoft’s Windows Adaptable Pocket PC copy of 2000-2009, there was never a absolute backup for Microsoft’s Windows Adaptable Smartphone Copy operating arrangement which brought smartphone appearance to abate non-touch-screen phones who’s primarily approach of aeronautics was concrete accouterments buttons. Appliance accouterments buttons as an interface brought abounding advantages, such as quick admission shortcuts, one-handed usage, and lower costs. Nicely, Windows Adaptable Smartphone copy happened to be abundant added abiding and reliable than its touch-screen accessory Windows Adaptable Pocket PC Edition.
Today, we assuredly accept a new airy almsman to Windows Adaptable Smartphone copy in the anatomy of Kai OS!
Kai OS is a angle of a angle of an old open-source activity alleged Firefox OS. Firefox OS was a Mozilla activity from 2012-2016 which acclimated a Linux abject to run failing HTML-based web apps on smartphone hardware. Basing apps on web technologies such as HTML is a actual acute abstraction aback they can be fabricated to run on appealing abundant annihilation with a web browser. The belvedere doubter attributes of the Apple Wide Web is what fabricated it so successful, we should accept done the aforementioned with smartphones. (See: How to architecture the OS of the future.)
When Firefox OS was discontinued, the accessible antecedent best it up as a angle alleged “Boot to Gecko” for a while, but that alone lasted until 2017. That’s aback Kai OS Technologies Inc. fabricated addition angle and started accepting some investors involved. Jio, an India-based telecommunications company, invested in Kai OS and started authoritative bargain smartphones for the Indian market, which is accomplishing actual well. Google additionally invested in Kai OS, appropriately bringing some abundant affiliation with Google services.
Kai OS doesn’t accept annihilation abutting the massive appliance ecosystem of Android or iOS or alike contempo bootless operating systems like Windows Phone. While Microsoft blames Windows Phone’s abortion on their disability to get the cardinal of accepted apps up, Kai OS is absolutely accomplishing able-bodied afterwards a huge appliance ecosystem. In fact, so is Mac OS. See “If you anticipate Windows Buzz has no apps, you should try a Mac“.
Some of you may additionally mistaken Kai OS for a “dumb phone” OS, but that’s not true. The accomplished analogue of a smartphone comes from its adeptness for its functions to be continued by installing added software, and that is absolutely the case with Kai OS.
Getting about Kai OS appliance the accouterments buttons is actual intuitive… and we accept the accomplished added benefit of acute actual little deride movement to do everything. That’s not at all accurate with today’s avant-garde large-touch-screen accessories that generally crave two calmly to use! It’s acutely auspicious to be able to calmly use a buzz with one hand.
Kai OS does abridgement a lot of the account shortcuts that non-touchscreen phones already boasted though. For example, the appliance advertisement in the GUI is a filigree of 9 icons. They could accept set the 9 numbers on the phone’s keypad to bout up to those 9 icons for instantly ablution the one agnate to the cardinal on the keypad. Instead you accept to use the directional pad to afresh annal through and baddest the one you want. Furthermore, the icons aren’t labeled alone until they are called which agency you charge to annal through with the directional buttons and baddest anniversary one aloof to see the characterization and accept what it means, and that’s addition account accessory that slows bottomward user interactivity.
A buzz should be able to accomplish buzz calls, and Kai OS is… able to do that. From the home awning or appliance grid, artlessly use the cardinal pad to alpha accounting out a cardinal and Kai OS will alpha aggravating to bout the cardinal with contacts in your contacts list.
Sometimes Kai OS can’t accumulate up with the numbers you blazon admitting and alike admitting you may feel the button on the accouterments get pressed, the software may not admit it while its active aggravating to do a attending up. Unfortunately, this analogous action does NOT accommodate T9 appearance name resolution either. So if you try to blazon someone’s name, you’re not activity to get them in the auto-complete listing. You’ll accept to go to the contacts app to do that.
While the old Windows Mobile, Palm, and Symbian smartphones were advised to accompany contacts with a desktop PC claimed advice affairs like Outlook and Palm Desktop, today best PIM abstracts is synced anon with online servers via Exchange ActiveSync (Office 365, Outlook.com, etc.) or CardDAV (iCloud, Gmail, etc.).
Thankfully, Kai OS additionally syncs acquaintance abstracts with online servers, but abominably it alone supports one blazon and that’s Gmail. Not alike the open-standard CardDAV agreement is supported… which is the agreement Gmail uses… You can ONLY accompany with Google accounts. That agency alike admitting I accept a CardDAV server, because it’s not Google’s server, I can’t accompany that.
Thankfully, in the contacts app, there is an Import/Export advantage and this is able to acceptation contacts from Office 365 business and Outlook.com Exchange accounts into the phone’s memory. The contacts don’t sync, but at atomic you can acceptation them. The actuality that acquaintance accompany via Exchange ActiveSync is missing from Kai OS is a huge disappointment as best smartphones were able to do this absolute accompany to online servers aback 2005. The actuality that it’s not able to accompany with non-Google CardDAV servers is addition huge disappointment.
It’s additionally accessible to acceptation contacts from the anamnesis card, so that seems to be the alone advantage for those who don’t appetite all of their advice stored in Google or Microsoft servers.
Another actual important allotment of a smartphone software is the adeptness to administer your accessories and get reminders while on the go. Kai OS does accommodate a calendar, and it syncs with Google accounts as able-bodied as CalDAV accounts. So yes, I can accompany the Agenda with my clandestine CalDAV server, but I can’t accompany the contacts with my clandestine CardDAV server. That aberration is affectionate of frustrating. Oh, and the abridgement of Exchange ActiveSync agenda abutment actuality is badly disappointing.
The accomplished acumen wireless internet was added to corpuscle phones 20 years ago was so that we could get email while mobile. (The Apple Wide Web wasn’t absolutely accessible for adaptable at the about-face of the century.) Email has been the accepted messaging agreement on the internet for decades and today its acceptance is decidedly still growing. It is absolutely accessible afterwards all with no proprietary or belvedere restrictions from big tech or buzz companies. It’s basically the alone communications agreement that you can absolutely ascendancy yourself and still affiliate with the blow of the apple for democratic, freedom-friendly communications.
Kai OS’s email app is absolutely accessible in fact. Unlike the Contacts and Agenda apps, it absolutely syncs with Office 365, Exchange Server, and Outlook.com (although it does so via the IMAP protocol). It additionally supports Gmail, of course, and the accessible accepted IMAP/SMTP protocols acquiesce for about all added email accounts to action on Kai OS.
Kai OS does not about abutment the IMAP IDLE addendum for absolute time push-email like best added email audience accept had for decades. (Although, Apple disables this for non-iCloud accounts on iOS, as Google disables it for non-Gmail accounts on Gmail for Android in favor for proprietary advance tech.)
Kai OS’s email app additionally accurately supports articulation acceptance provided by Google Assistant. That agency I can behest accountable curve and email letters appliance my articulation instead of the numeric keyboard (although bushing out the “to” fields still requires the keypad.)
As addition who has been switching smartphone platforms frequently, I’ve developed to abhorrence the limitations of argument messaging; it alone works on one buzz at a time, it’s acutely anachronistic now that we accept the internet and can accelerate abstracts through that afterwards acute a buzz company. Still, bodies use it anyhow and of advance there’s a argument messaging app in Kai OS.
It’s not actual acceptable though. First of all, the “To” acreage doesn’t auto-complete with names in your contacts list. Accounting with T9 in the “to” acreage aloof guesses accustomed words, not names. So I accept to accurately blazon the name or cardinal and afresh I can accept from the contacts auto-complete listing. The “To” acreage doesn’t abutment Google Abettor articulation acceptance either.
Almost 20 years ago, aback anybody abroad was activity crazy for those big brick iPods that played MP3s, I had my Windows Adaptable smartphone affiliated to my car stereo for alert to my MP3s. Today, we all use our smartphones for alert to music.
Kai OS does of advance accept a Music app for alert to MP3s, but there’s one above bug in it… It doesn’t admit files on the MicroSD card! With this Alcatel buzz I’m using, there’s alone 2.3Gb of accumulator accessible for Media on the phone. I’ve added a 64Gb MicroSD agenda abounding with about 25Gb account of MP3s, and the Music software doesn’t admit that at all. So we are actual bound in the bulk of music that can be played on this Kai OS buzz and that’s addition above disappointment.
It does accept an FM Radio though, so that will assignment able-bodied for bounded radio stations.
The abutting best important aspect of a smartphone is the adeptness to see area you are and area you appetite to go on a map.
Kai OS includes a adequately all-encompassing adaptation of Google Maps and it is actual useful. It acutely doesn’t accept abounding affection adequation with the Google Maps apps on Android and iOS, but it’s bigger than the Google Maps that was accessible on Windows Adaptable Smartphone copy 10-15 years ago.
You can use articulation commands to chase for locations and acquisition directions. You can appearance the accepted map layers. You can chase for bounded accumulation alteration stops or gas stations. It supports GPS to acquisition your area on the map and get directions, but it abominably does not abutment about-face by about-face aeronautics instructions so you won’t be able to use this for driving. It’s not able to download map abstracts for offline use either, so you’ll charge a abstracts affiliation at all times if you charge directions.
One accomplished affection that’s a lot bigger than its agnate was on the old non-touch smartphones from 15 years ago is the Google Abettor accent interface. Starting in 2002, Windows Adaptable had one of the best accent interface apps on smartphones. It had some accomplished appearance that don’t abide on avant-garde smartphones today, but it never chip with apps as able-bodied as Google Abettor does on Kai OS.
You can accessible Google abettor as a stand-alone accent interface and allege abounding of the usually commands and questions.
But the absolute advantage of Google Abettor in Kai OS is the adeptness to use it to transcribe argument into ascribe fields. You don’t accept to blazon words with a cardinal pad! Aloof authority bottomward the centermost “OK” button for a brace abnormal while the cursor is aural a argument acreage and a “listening” chat will arise which will let you behest the argument you appetite to enter. Usually argument fields that abutment this will appearance a microphone figure to the right, but others may abutment it as well. Unfortunately, not all argument fields abutment this, so that’s a little annoying.
Of advance Kai OS includes a web browser and appliance websites on a baby awning in 2019 is a lot bigger than in 2002 aback actual few websites were advised to be responsive.
The browser includes a few advantageous keypad shortcuts. The 1 key zooms out, 3 zooms in, 8 scrolls to the bottom, and 5 scrolls to the top. The 2 key switches to scroll/panning approach which lets you cross a web folio added easily. Pressing 2 afresh disables scrolling approach and switches aback to the hyperlink aeronautics approach area you can use the directional pad to baddest the alternate buttons.
Back in the 2002-2009 smartphone era, there weren’t absolutely app food included on devices. You had to chase the internet and install apps via approved downloads or through a desktop PC link. Today, of course, it’s affectionate of a claim that smartphones accommodate an accessible way to install added apps and Kai OS is no exception.
There’s alone a brace hundred apps in the Kai OS app abundance and they’re mostly games, but you accept to alpha somewhere.
One of the best important aspects of a smartphone these canicule is admission to the above amusing networks. There are three amusing arrangement apps in the Kai OS store: Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp. YouTube is addition one that’s already included on the device. All of these are basically aloof web apps though, but that’s accurate with aggregate on Kai OS. That actuality said, you may be missing some of the appearance that abide in added amusing arrangement apps (which may be a acceptable thing).
It’s absolutely agitative to see a 3rd smartphone operating arrangement advancing up in the apple abnormally aback Microsoft gave up on the smartphone operating arrangement arena aback Satya Nadela became CEO and all of the added antecedent options had died out afore then. Kai OS is assuredly bringing aback some one-hand-usable smartphone interactions that had ahead been absent to Windows Adaptable Smartphone Edition, Palm’s Web OS, and Windows Buzz 8.
Unfortunately, Kai OS is still adolescent and doesn’t absolutely get the basics appropriate aback it comes to things like alert to music, syncing with billow services, dialing buzz calls, and GPS navigation. Conceivably Microsoft should accept kept Windows Adaptable Smartphone copy about for a while best aback acutely there’s a bazaar for it because how agnate Kai OS is to that old operating arrangement from decades ago.
Hopefully, Kai OS will abide to advance and eventually prove to be a absolute adversary to the Android and iOS duopoly… although, with Google’s advance in Kai OS, conceivably it won’t absolutely be as abundant of a adversary as one ability hope.
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