Android was originally planned for non-touch phones, and those who’ve wondered what the platform may have been like if not for the advent of the iPhone can look to a leaked video of a Nokia feature phone running what seems to be Android 8.1 Oreo. Google’s original vision of the platform probably didn’t include an AI assistant greeting the user the second the phone is turned on, of course. It likely would have looked quite different from what’s in this video; this is Android 8.1 Oreo being navigated by keys alone, with a brand-new home screen custom-built for convenience and quick use without touch.
Such a device was apparently spotted not long ago, and is now making the rounds on video. As fate would have it, the picture that went around before actually seems to be from this new video. The video comes courtesy of a blogger and Vimeo user by the handle rider95, and shows off the home screen featuring Assistant, along with a quick walk through the app drawer, loading up Maps rather slowly, indicating a weak processor, and finally, a trip through a re-tooled settings menu that concludes with a peek into the About Phone screen. There is a brief shot of a redesigned Chrome running, but most of the web content, and thus the interface, is censored. All that can be seen is a navigation bar up top featuring a few site shortcuts.
The device in the video is a Nokia phone that looks pretty similar to 2014’s Nokia 220, along with the Nokia 105, a newer feature phone from the company that was released in select territories back in 2017. The humble phone boasted almost a month of standby time or 14 hours of talk time from a measly 800mAh battery, but one would be remiss to call it a smartphone in any sense of the word. Given its light OS and only 4MB of onboard storage, an Android version is going to see a serious spec and battery bump, and likely won’t compete in terms of battery life.
Along with the new OS, which would obviously require more storage and a beefier processor, this device sports a front camera. It’s shown running what seems to be a full version of Android, so it stands to reason that one would have access to the full suite of Android apps out there, though any that rely on touch are likely a no go. Since it is, after all, a feature phone, intense apps like virtualization-related stuff, games, and more are probably also out.
The presence of this video lends credence to the idea of this device coming to light in an official capacity soon, though it’s worth noting that the ugly skin over the top of the device may indicate that the final physical design isn’t quite there yet. In any case, it is somewhat curious that such a device would be running a more direct interpretation of Android rather than KaiOS, a lightweight feature phone OS that Google has a stake in. Instead, the company has put in the work to create a custom version of Android for this purpose, which means there must be some special reason for that.