Google is rumoured to be working on a custom lightweight version of Android for feature phones, and it’s now shown up in part seemingly running on a Nokia candy-bar style phone.
While visually it looks very different from standard Android – which we typically see running on any smartphone that isn’t an iPhone – there are enough visual cues to make it seem at least a little familiar.
The image comes via 9to5Google’s sources, and seemingly shows what looks to be the Nokia 220/230 in a protective silicon case, which isn’t doing a particularly good job of hiding the hardware’s distinguishing features.
As you can see from the only image we have of the OS, there are several indicators that this is – indeed – a Google made operating system. The recognisable microphone icon which indicates voice search and possibly Google Assistant support is one of them.
Along the bottom row of icons you’ll also notice the Chrome and YouTube icons, again, both being Google-made apps, seemingly preloaded and added to the home screen by default.
Sadly, that’s all that’s been shown of this user interface on a device so far. The challenge for Google is adapting its system and apps not only to be completely touch-less, and controllable only using physical buttons and controls, but also to be lightweight enough to run on devices with a lot less power than your typical smartphone.
Of course, questions arise over what other apps might work on a much skinnier version of Android running on a less powerful piece of hardware, and one with only a small square non-touch display.
With the smartphone market completely saturated, however, Google likely sees this as an opportunity to get its revenue creating services into the hands of more people.
We don’t know yet if devices are actually heading to market running this software, and no official word has come from any manufacturer yet. With this being a leak, there’s not concrete way to confirm whether it’s real either.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for more news on this non-touch version of Android, and keep you updated as always.
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