Google’s Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system available for smartphones currently. Going by a new leak spotted by 9To5Google, it appears the Mountain View-based company may be planning to roll out a “touchless” version of Android for feature phones. The most popular feature phone OS currently is KaiOS.
According to 9To5Google, Google added two new screenshots for Chrome’s public translation team in a recent commit. As expected, the screenshots were removed quickly after being posted. The screenshots show a redesigned version of the New Tab Page in Chrome with a more concise “Articles for you” section.
More importantly, however, the screenshots show Android 8.1 Oreo’s system notification in the status bar. This suggests the touchless version of Chrome seen in these screenshots has been designed for an Android 8.1 Oreo-based OS. What seems very strange is Google’s decision to build a touchless version of a nearly two-year old version of Android. Android Go, which is Google’s program for low-end devices, also uses the latest Android Pie version currently.
Since Google I/O 2019 is right around the corner, there is a good chance that we may hear more about the new version of Android at the event. Google I/O 2019 will be held from May 7 till May 9 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. As I mentioned earlier, the most popular operating system for feature phones currently available is KaiOS. The phone OS powers several feature phones from Alcatel, Reliance Jio, as well as HMD Global. In India, KaiOS happens to be the second most popular phone OS after Android, thanks to the huge popularity of Reliance JioPhone in the country.
In February this year, Google partnered with KaiOS Technologies to bring Assistant to feature phones running on KaiOS. Google is also set to bring Voice Typing and Actions to KaiOS phones very soon.