Google Is Developing A 'Touchless' Version Of Android For Feature Phones, Screenshots Confirm

Dhir Acharya - Apr 27, 2019, 7:06 am IST


Months ago, a report came out saying that Google was developing a ‘touchless’ version of Android to use on feature phones. Now, this is confirmed.

Months ago, a report came out saying that Google was developing an Android ‘touchless’ version to use on feature phones. Now, a newly surfaced report on the Internet reveals a few screenshots of this mode.

Not only do these screenshots indicate what Google Chrome will look like in the upcoming ‘touchless’ mode but they also indicate the status bar lying at the top with regular icons of the Android system namely the clock, Wi-Fi, network range, battery capacity, and what could be an unattended prompt  or pending “System” setup from the “Settings” app. In addition, the report said that the ‘touchless’ version was created using Android Oreo as the foundation.

Google Chrome and Android Touchless Mode

As we can tell from one notification icon in the status bar, Google developed this ‘touchless’ version using Android Oreo 8.1 as the basis. It’s unclear why the tech giant is developing the version based on a 2-year-old OS instead of Android Q or Android 9 Pie, but the soon-to-come Google I/O 2019 event may unveil more information.

9to5Google shared these screenshots while confirming that Google is developing such a mode for the OS. As per the report, this move will put Android into direct competition with KaiOS, the OS for feature phones based on Linux. Interestingly, this competition surfaces months after the $22-million investment that Google put into developing KaiOS.

According to the report, the screenshots were supposed to be given to Google Chrome’s public translation team, but it managed to get the first one before they removed it and recover the second image after being removed. If you look closer, you will see the New Tab Page has been redesigned and quite condensed, with the “Articles for you” section.

Furthermore, there is the “all apps” section in which you’ll see the page icon’s title that you hover over, navigating using the feature phone’s keyboard. Based on what web page you are on, the page title will change accordingly. Also, the detail-focused screenshots suggest that they illustrate to a browser for ‘touchless’ devices rather than a simple framework where website developers test this mode on their devices.

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