+ Friday November 15th, 2019

Honestly, we thought we’d seen the end of the “feature” phone. Basic Android devices are getting cheaper and cheaper every year, and with initiatives like Android Go, Google is constantly pushing its OS onto less powerful hardware. Like a vampire faced with questionable garlic though, the feature phone just keeps coming back.

Maybe it’s a little unfair to lament this. After all, for every $50 smartphone out there, there’s someone who can’t afford it. Finding a way to get these users online with a modern, secure operating system is important.

9to5Google is today showing off a photo that their tipster claims shows a non-touchscreen device with a numeric keypad, a D-pad for navigation, call/hangup buttons and function keys for menus.

Source: 9to5Google

If it looks just like your old Nokia phone, there’s a reason for that – this is said to be a Nokia-branded device.

As you might expect on a non-touch device, some things need to be done differently. It looks like Notifications will become Alerts, and the launcher is quite different. It’s also using some kind of voice input & may offer the Google Assistant. There’s also indications that the phone will have a Chrome browser and access to YouTube, and possibly some kind of file transfer app.

Feature phones are still around, though their popularity in developed markets has waned. It seems that this new cut-down form of Android could take the fight to Series 30+, KaiOS and others that have carved a niche in the space.

You’ll find a lot more detail and analysis at 9to5Google’s original report.

Update, 2.30pm: Android Police pours cold water all over this, reminding us all that Google has invested in KaiOS and this device is probably just running an updated version of it. Check out the debunk here.

Source: 9to5Google.

Jason Murray   Deputy Editor

Jason Murray

Before discovering the Nexus One, Jason thought he didn't need a smartphone. Now he can't bear to be without his Android phone. Jason hails from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane depending on his mood and how detailed a history you'd like. A web developer by day with an interest in consumer gadgets and electronics, he also enjoys reading comics and has a worryingly large collection of Transformers figures. He'd like to think he's a gamer, but his Wii has been in a box since he moved to Sydney, and his PlayStation Vita collection is quite lacking. Most mornings you'll find him tilting at various windmills on Twitter - follow @JM77 and say hi!

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