The Demise of KaiOS - Alcatel 3088X

I was really excited, when Firefox OS became commercially available as KaiOS for "smart" feature phones. Unfortunately the high hopes I had put into this platform have been utterly shattered.

I was recently looking for a button phone that had only three requirements:

  1. very good battery run time, at least several days or a week of standby without charging
  2. easy backup or even synchronization of the contacts
  3. VoLTE support to benefit from LTE coverage 

In Theory...

On paper, KaiOS phones look like the perfect match for those requirements. PhoneCopy for KaiOS is a cloud synchronization service that comes with an app for KaiOS (and many other platforms) to synchronize contacts and other phone content to the cloud (and back). With batteries of 1500 mAh and more, KaiOS phones have the potential to deliver outstanding battery performance. The Alcatel 3088X, for example, boasts "up to 300h standby and more than 7h talk time" with a 1530 mAh battery:
Battery specifications of Alcatel 3088X

In Practice...

The reality of KaiOS is unfortunately very different:

  • the battery performance is dismal, less than 48h (2 days!) standby sitting on my desk and doing nothing.
  • the KaiOS store is broken, it only shows "Connection Error". So I can't even install the PhoneCopy app to test the contacts sync. I am not the only user with this problem, somebody reported it on Reddit 8 months ago.
  • VoLTE doesn't actually work, at least not with this phone and not with the German SIM cards I have that support VoLTE on Android. It is unclear if all 4G KaiOS phones support VoLTE or only some.

To top it off, the Google Assistant built into KaiOS cannot voice dial contacts. Instead it politely points out that this feature is not supported any more. So Google or KaiOS turned it off, just like that. Like "we don't care about our users" off.

I contacted Alcatel via their support form, but haven't received an answer – I can only assume that there is no customer support for these phones.

Here is a short demo of some of these problems:

Potential Alternatives

So what can I do? Where can I find a simple phone with some connectivity and a solution for managing the contacts? It turns out the Nokia (actually HMD) S30+ platform might solve my problems. Nokia just released the Nokia 6310, a feature phone with buttons, long battery life and even Wifi. Maybe PhoneCopy will support it somehow. If not, then I'll be at least able to copy the contacts to an MicroSD card as a backup.

Comments

  1. Sad, that you have a bad experience with KaiOS. KaiOS is a good system. I have create more than 50 apps for this system. This system have a good future - I hope with KaiOS 3.0 will be not many bugs.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Like this content? You could send me something from my Amazon Wishlist. Need commercial support? Contact me for Consulting Services.

Popular posts from this blog

Setting Custom Page Size in Google Docs - My First Published Google Apps Script Add-On

Thank you Deutsche Bahn, we had a good time

How did GitOps get started? An interview with Alexis Richardson