Android is one of the most widely used mobile operating systems in the world. Today it powers over 75 smartphones in the world. KaiOS, on the other hand, powers most of world’s feature phones capturing roughly 0.59 per cent market share as per StatCounter data. But have you ever wondered how a feature phone working on Android OS would look like? How users would use Maps and access Google Assistant on a feature phone running on Android OS? Now, a leaked video has given us a glimpse of the functionings of an feature phone running on Google’s Android mobile operating system.
According to a report by 9To5 Google, the video shows a Nokia feature phone running on a version of Android 8.1 customised for feature phones. It shows the user activating Google Assistant and scrolling through the series of Google’s apps and services such as Maps, Search, Chrome and Settings among other things.
The About section of the phone shows the device name as “GAFP”. The publication notes that this could stand for Google Android Feature Phone. The term Iron still remains a mystery.
Notably, the reports of Google working on a special version of Android OS for feature phones surfaced on the internet earlier this year when the publication found evidence of a new “touchless mode” in Chromimum’s source code for Google’s browser. This code talked about a special version of Google Chrome that was designed for devices with a touchless display. In other words, a feature phone.
However, another report by 9To5 Google earlier this month revealed that Google had removed this code for Google Crome’s touchless mode indicating the company’s change of plans in terms of extending the support of its Android operating system to feature phones, most of which today are powered by KaiOS.
What remains unclear is why Google would work on its own version of Android OS for feature phones, especially when it has pumped in $22 million in KaiOS and agreed to develope a version of Google’s apps for KaiOS users. Whatever might have been the reason, Google scrapping the code clearly indicates that Android OS on feature phones is an avenue it is not interested to pursue, at least not at the moment.