Nokia feature phone powered by Android leaks on video
Since it was initially conceived, Android has always been a smartphone-oriented operating system. No way around that. And nowadays, you’ll be able to find devices in virtually every price range running Android. But as more and more people have started connecting to the Internet, particularly in emerging markets, demand has grown for smarter “dumb” phones. Android Go was released in an attempt to bring a full Android experience to even cheaper smartphones, but there is, or was, an even lower-end version of Android in the works for feature phones. Now, a prototype Nokia feature phone running Android has leaked in a hands-on video.
Android for these devices looks very, very different from what you’d expect on a smartphone. Of course, this is to be expected given how we don’t have a touchscreen and we’re dealing with a numeric keypad for input. Obviously, we also have very, very low specifications on board, so certain transitions aren’t as fancy or fast as you’d expect from full-blown Android. In fact, they’re pretty choppy.
The short video shows off Google Assistant, Google Maps, Chrome, and the Android system settings. Most UI elements are shrunk down and adapted to the smaller form factor, simplifying them for the weaker hardware in the process. If not for the Google apps and system settings, you may not conclude that this is anything other than a typical feature phone OS.
In the case of this particular Nokia device, it was running a feature version of Android 8.1 Oreo. Given how it’s been 2 full years since Android Oreo’s release and we already have Android 10, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that this is a very old, possibly scrapped prototype and not something that will be released to the wider public. This doesn’t mean that such a device will not be released down the road, but it doesn’t confirm an upcoming device either.
Nokia is no stranger to releasing “smarter” feature phones, having released a handful of devices running KaiOS, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them release an Android feature phone someday. Of course, neither Google or the Android team has spoken publicly about this yet, so don’t hold your breath on a release in the near future.