Google has been putting a lot of efforts to bring smartphone features to India and other developing countries. The biggest release for the market was Android Go. Android Go is a lightweight edition of Android made for entry-level devices that have little storage and less than 1GB of RAM. However, Google is not happy with just sticking to low end smartphones. The company is making its move on feature phones to introduce Google Assistant to it.
Aren’t feature phones obsolete?
While it is true that the use of smartphones are steadily increasing, feature phones are still an extremely popular option among people. Hundreds of millions of people, especially in the developing world use features – the exact number is around seven hundred and eighty million. These mobiles do not have Android but do offer basic internet connectivity.
What is the first feature phone to receive Google Assistant?
The Reliance JioPhone is the device to debut with this tech. JioPhone is a 4G feature phone that runs KaiOS, a custom operating system based on Firefox OS. Launched earlier this year and available for free (with a deposit) to Jio subscribers, the device actually has its own voice assistant, called HelloJio.
Google will not be including its customized version of its voice assistant. It will come with Hindi support. Furthermore, it will be customized to fit 2.4-inch QVGA none touch colour screen. Google assures that the main interaction will be no different from what smartphone users are accustomed to.
Wil this arrive to other phones?
As of yet, there is no news on if Google will partner up with other manufacturers to bring their voice assistant to other feature phones. If they do intend to, companies like Nokia make an excellent company to try this strategy out with. By making Assistant available on feature phones, Google can reach a huge pool of new users and bring them online, in line with its Next Billion Users strategy.