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Kai OS: What is it? Can I Use to Escape Google's Spying?


I want to open a discussion about Kai OS, both for my own pursuit of knowledge and to discover like-minded people.

I want to discuss:

  1. What is it and who is it for?

  2. Where can I buy a phone running KaiOS?

  3. Is this our chance to break free from the spying of Android and iOS?

  4. Why we should support this.


I have owned half a dozen flip phones throughout my life, I’ve owned 3 Android phones (ZenFone 2, ZenFone 3, and Pixel 2 XL), a Windows HTC 8x phone, and 2 iPhones (iPhone SE and iPhone 8). Most of them have been great phones (I’m currently using a Galaxy S7 I bought used from a friend).

However, each time I have had the $800+ phones, I don’t really enjoy them. It feels like a waste. I’ve also never been comfortable with having Google, Microsoft, or Apple accounts. At least not on my phone, where is has access to so much personal data. TBH, I’ve enjoyed my flip phones the most, but not being able to receive a 2FA code via email has been highly inconvenient at times.

I would say I have a more minimalistic attitude towards physical items. I’ve always preferred simplicity and efficiency. I also have almost no social media presence, as I believe it can be a cause for depression. In this regard, I realize I do not fit the norm, and that’s ok with me.

Security, Privacy, Economics, and the Future State of Our Devices

What I really want to bring to the table is “why I believe you should consider ditching the typical smartphone”.

I wouldn’t consider myself paranoid of privacy, but I do see the necessity of having it.
I would also not consider myself to be someone who is particularly environmentally concerned, but I do recognize the vast amount of waste our consumer electronics produce (not to mention our cheap out-sourced labour).
I find it very disturbing how large tech companies (such as the afore mentioned ones) abuse our data, twist our economics, create monopolies, and squelch out competition. All in the name of earning power and wealth. Which they can do, we do live in a free country, but they get away with more than they should due to the ignorance of the populous.

As long as people keep buying their devices, they have all the power. We have no choice but to use their services.

Kai OS is targeted to emerging markets, such as India, China, and Africa. It aims to provide connectivity for those who otherwise wouldn’t have it. Kai OS can be a simple smart phone, or it can even run on flip phones. I find this appealing because of it’s efficiency. Low cost, fewer precious materials, low power consumption. It provides the basics we need to function in a connected world without excess. It aims to exclude no-one. I believe it deserves as much support as we can give.

Being that Kai OS is open source, and not based on Android, it provides an opportunity for us to escape the claws of Google. I personally will take this opportunity to become a psudo early adopter (I’m a little late though) and show my support to a good cause. I’ve been sceptical of projects such as Tizen and Sailfish OS, but Kai OS looks like it will actually begin to compete the Android and iOS. Maybe in a different way, but a better way.

Please feel free to suggest edits. I’m sure my rambling may be hard to follow. Being as I’ve just started researching KaiOS, I want to hear your thoughts and opinions on the matter.

Thanks, Wyatt.



I ain’t doing it

I’m 100% the opposite of your mindset where I thoroughly enjoy Google’s integration into my daily routine especially android auto amongst other things.



I dont know anything about kai os but I know you can use AOSP roms that have no google apps and fdroid for apps repo. Fdroid has some nice stuff in it.



It seems pretty cool. It’s based of off the community developed successor to Firefox os.

I like that it’s lightweight, and as such can be modular and run on flip phones and smartphones. And also

Looking at the Wiki, it looks like they already beat Apple for second place in terms of market share in India which is very nice to see. Although Tim did lower iPhone prices specifically for the Indian market. So we’ll see if they can keep that share. As maybe people will switch from an Android to an IPhone. But with the amount of low wage workers in India and the price point of KaiOS phones, I would imagine that they can keep Apple at bay.



KaiOS is a fork of FirefoxOS and Google bought them invested 22 million USD for Google services integration like a year or two ago. So no you can’t escape Google with it. The only possibilities on the market that are relatively “easy” for me to prepare/use and not being based on Android are iOS and SailfishOS.

Sources -



How deep is the google integration?

From looking at their website they just have the ability to download some of googles apps.

Also. It’s kinda stupid that Google invested money in it. Unless, if in return, Kai is helping on googles fushcia os.



I have not checked every phone on the market but Jiophone ( those are the hit in India with a price range around 25-30$ ) come with Youtube, Google maps and Google assistant. They also have a big mic button at the center of the device because Google Assistant is better than typing on such devices also it seems like the button is used for different things in different apps as it is used for voice messages in Whatsapp -



May your thoughts of leaving Google RIP in peace OP.



I hear ya when it comes to the surveillance we’re being subjected to. Issue is however not the tech companies, it’s the “I have nothing to hide” and “I want the new phone so I look smart, successful and hip. No matter the cost”. Oh well, turns out that majority of humans are sheep, disregarding that all the data gathered can and will be used against people at some point.

An example from a few weeks ago in a Danish court. Police could use phone logs to place a person at a specific place at a specific time using logs, but someone accused can’t use the same log to prove they weren’t at a specific spot at a specific time.

I get the whole comfort thing with having someone monitor you to make your day easier, but come on, humans have never had easier lives when it comes to survival, so what’s the point.

If I were in your situation tho, I’d compile/build my own android and flash that onto a phone. This way you can remove most of the things you don’t want, and the things that can’t be removed, you can largely disable. It’s not something you just do, there are things that must be done right or you’ll brick your phone, however, there are tonnes of guides on the subject. At the same time, you’d have a rooted phone, you could do whatever you want with.

To not have to bother with many of googles ad spam channels, popups and all the other crap flooding the internet. You can use the two following DNS servers. They are based in Russia and block most of google ads.


However, if you want to escape googles claws. Don’t use anything they, or affiliates, have made.

Google doesn’t put money in anything they can’t use for their own benefit. Besides, how can we be sure that they are telling the truth? It wouldn’t be the first time google lied about logging location or something similar. Only way to be sure, is to do it oneself and not use the monitored apps.

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Education education education
You want privacy you need education as you live in a world driven by greed.
Greed greatest addiction drug is money.
Is it wise to get between addict and their main drug?

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Fair enough, to each his own.

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I have looked into that some, but I’ve decided against that for two reasons:

I don’t have the time or desire.
I don’t want the “typical smart phone”. I’d rather have an inexpensive, non-touch screen device.

But your suggestion is probably the best route for most people.



I saw that, and I’m not sure what to think about it. On one hand, if Google services weren’t available on KaiOS, then people wouldn’t adopt it. However, removing the base Android OS, takes away much of Google’s spying abilities. I personally will un-install the Google apps, as I only use the basic features of a phone: calls, contacts, messaging, checking email.



You might think its not easy to do because it means flashing a phone and youd have to spend a bunch of time learning to do it, and in a lot of cases youd be right. The right phone is fairly straight forward though, and once its done you have a full featured smart phone that doesnt rely on any google services.

I would argue that you dont need to spend much money on the device you do this to. Used ones are great for this and especially so if they were kinda cheap already.

Of course dont let me talk you out of your desired experience.



Yes, you hit it right on the head.



It’s true. I can buy a 1st gen Pixel for about $130 bucks off of eBay. That’s a lot of phone for the price. There’s also the Samsung J7’s new for about $90, I believe. It’s hard to argue against that will the years of development that Android has had. Overall it’s a really dang good package.

I want to see a good hardware/software package does the basics well, and nothing else. I do like the web-based apps that KaiOS has, just because of the easy development.



I’m totally not arguing you shouldnt go with kaios at all. Just letting you consider the alternative. I use gapps on my rooted n6p and theres stuff on fdroid that is absolutely worth having.

at the very least I think you should look at fdroid.



Oh no worries. This is just an open discussion to explore different ideas and thoughts. I’m not stuck in one way or the other. I’m open to whatever. I will look into it more and determine whether or not it’s something I want to pursue.



As long as it is possible, more power to you. However this is no android and I am not sure if you will be able to remove them.



Hmmm, that might be a problem. I’ve seen that the JioPhone has pre-installed Jio apps that probably can’t be removed either.