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Nokia’s nostalgia-inducing feature phone is getting a modern twist

WhatsApp is coming to the Western versions the Nokia 8110 after an April launch in India.

Users of KaiOS in the West can now download an official version of WhatsApp from the KaiStore. This means owners of the retro-looking Nokia 8110 can access the chat app – with the caveat only KaiOS devices with 256MB or 512MB of RAM can download it.

Related: Nokia 8110 4G review

According to The Verge, the KaiOS version of WhatsApp supports voice recording, messaging and – even – end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp will also come preinstalled on select KaiOS devices from the third quarter of this year.

The addition of WhatsApp to KaiOS may not make sense for some Western users. Phones like the Nokia 8110 are often owned as a way of disconnecting from social media and modern apps like WhatsApp. This is not the case in India, however. 

In India, cheap and long battery life feature phones are much more commonplace. The addition of WhatsApp provides users with access to a communication service which is extremely popular in the country but was previously reserved for smartphones.

Related: Best cheap phones

Along with the Nokia 8110, WhatsApp for KaiOS is available for the Cat B35, Doro 7060, JioPhone, JioPhone 2, MTN Smart and Orange Sanza. WhatsApp arrived on the JioPhones back in September – well ahead of the April launch on the Nokia 8110.

KaiOS is an extremely feature-light operating system that is only available on a limited amount of phones. The OS began as a fork of Firefox OS before the popular browser maker abandoned its phone plans. KaiOS later gained investment from Google as well as the use of Google Assistant-powered voice-typing.

The news follows the release of new Nokia 220 and Nokia 105 features phones. The two new feature phones were unveiled on Wednesday and target the super affordable end of the market. Though feature phones are a rarity in developed parts of the world recent market research suggests globally “smart” feature phones, like Nokia’s, are actually one of the fastest growing segments of the smartphone market.

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