Do you remember the last feature phone you owned before getting a smartphone? Once you purchased a smartphone, you figured that you would never consider buying a feature phone again. But suppose you could purchase such a device powered by Android? 9to5Google posted a photograph today that it received from an anonymous source. The image shows a device that resembles a Nokia feature phone running the Android operating system. The phone doesn’t use a touchscreen for navigation and relies instead on a d-pad, number keys and some other buttons (how could we have been so primitive back then). There is no app switcher on the device.
The source told 9to5Google that while unbranded, the handset was created by Nokia. Some of the markings on the number keys seem to dovetail with ones used on earlier Nokia phones. The home screen features a microphone icon near the top of the display; while this is indeed Google’s microphone icon, it isn’t clear whether it will be used to make requests of Google Assistant or to ask questions to Google Search. Some app icons can be seen on the bottom of the display for the camera, Chrome Browser, and YouTube. There is also an unknown icon showing white arrows in a green circle, one pointing right and the other left. A yellow flap can be seen on the left side of the circle. The square in the middle is most likely the app drawer; navigating to that icon will show you all of the available apps on the phone
Photo shows feature phone, allegedly from Nokia, running on Android
An Android-powered feature phone would have a stellar battery life
On the upper part of the display from the center to the right corner is the status bar that shows the status of the network being used (4G in this case), a signal strength bar, battery indicator and the time. On the bottom, there are three options, “Alert,” “Select,” and “Settings.” The first option might be used instead of the non-existent pull-down notification shade to receive notifications and alerts. The photo also shows that the phone is hidden under a rubber case. Ironically, Android was originally developed for non-touchscreen handsets. The word is that when then Apple-CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone in January 2007, developers quickly changed paths and turned Android into an operating system for touchscreen phones.
There is no indication when (or even if) such a phone will be produced. Without having to power a large touchscreen, battery life would probably be stellar, even with a much smaller capacity battery than what you might find on what passes for a low-end Android phone these days (actually, some budget Android phones, like the Moto G7 Power, possess large batteries). And the price would most likely undercut any touchscreen Android phone available today.
HMD Global, which has the right to use the Nokia name on mobile phones through 2024, brought back the popular Nokia 3310 feature phone in 2017. The original was one of the best-selling phones of all time with sales of 126 million units. The newer version of the phone had some updated specs including a 2.4-inch color screen, a 2MP rear camera, and a microSD slot. And while the battery sports a rather low capacity of 1200mAh battery, on a feature phone like the Nokia 3310, that is enough to keep the device running for a long time between charges.
This might be something that will appeal to those seeking a backup phone or a cheap phone for the kids. And since it will run on Android, it should have a lot more functionality than that LG Dare you used to carry around.