Months after initial report about Google working on a “touchless” version of Android for feature phones, a new report has emerged online revealing new screenshots confirming the mode. The screenshots in question showcase Google Chrome in the new upcoming “touchless” mode but in addition to that, they also reveal the status bar on the top with usual Android system icons including the battery capacity, network range, Wi-Fi, the clock, and what appears to be pending “System” setup or an unattended prompt from the “Settings” app. The report also added that the “touchless” version of Android is based on Android Oreo.
One of the notification icons in the status bar seems to confirm that the “touchless” version of Android is currently based on Android 8.1 Oreo. We are not sure why the company is basing this new mode on a two-year-old operating system rather than Android 9 Pie or even Android Q but it is likely that Google will reveal new information in its upcoming Google I/O 2019. The screenshots were reported by 9to5Google along with confirmation about Google working on such a mode for Android. It also noted that this move will pit Android directly against KaiOS, the reigning Linux-based operating system for feature phones. The interesting part about this competition is that it comes months after Google invested $22 million in the development of KaiOS.
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The report stated that the screenshots were provided to the public translation team of Google Chrome but it was able to save the first screenshot before it was removed and recover the second one after it was removed. Taking a closer look at the screenshots, we can see the redesigned and rather “condensed” New Tab Page along with the “Articles for you” section.
It also shows an “all apps” section where the app will actually show the title of the page icon that you will hover over with the help of the keyboard-based navigation on feature phones. The page title will change depending on the web page you are currently hovering over. It also noted that this level of attention to detail indicates that the screenshots belong to a dedicated browser for “Touchless” devices instead of simple test framework for website developers to test their devices in this mode.