Last week, we saw that Google was seemingly scrapping their work on Chrome for Android-based feature phones. As this was the only publicly visible work, we believe Google may have scrapped Android feature phones altogether. Now we have an in-depth look at what could have been, as a leaked video of an Android-based feature phone made by Nokia has surfaced. Our in-depth analysis has revealed new apps and interesting details about the project.
For the past six months, we’ve been tracking Google’s progress on introducing feature phones as a new form factor for both Android and the Chrome browser. Now it seems plans may have changed, as Google seems to be removing all of the code for Chrome’s Android-based touchless mode.
For the past few months, we’ve been tracking developments in Chrome that point to Android becoming a competitor to KaiOS by entering the feature phone market. Today, the first purported image of an Android feature phone has come to light, with Nokia stylings.
In a blast from the past, BGR reports that Samsung is launching a brand new flip-phone next month – combining the traditional keypad of a feature phone with Android Jelly Bean – to be named the Galaxy Folder.
The flip-phone form factor was created by Motorola with the Star-TAC back in 1989. Hard to believe now, but then it was seen as a futuristic design, emulating the Star Trek communicator.
While things have moved on a touch since then, there are still people – mostly in the older age-range – who prefer the familiarity and certainty of physical buttons but aren’t comfortable with the fiddliness of small QWERTY keyboards. Samsung’s hybrid phone strikes us as a smart move: modernising the featurephone concept while likely also acting as a gateway device to a full-on smartphone.
Rumored specs are an 800×480 display and Snapdragon S4 processor. It’s not known whether Samsung will make the Folder available in the USA or Europe, but featurephones do have a following even in developed markets.
Samsung today announced in a blog post that its free instant messaging service named ChatON is rolling out worldwide. The service will first arrive to Samsung’s Bada-driven devices, Android smartphones and selected feature phones starting this month, via Android Market and Samsung Apps stores. They will release the app on other platforms “by the end of 2011”. The company wrote:
ChatON provides users with a simple way to keep in touch with friends and family anywhere in the world, regardless of device platform. It enables users to communicate in multiple ways, allowing multimedia content and animated messages, as well as more conventional instant messages, to be shared with friends and family.
As we told you, the ChatON service has been conceived as a proprietary messaging service for multiple mobile platforms. Similar to the BlackBerry Messenger and Apple’s iMessage – both of which support free instant messaging over a mobile IP connection – ChatON too supports text, images, group chat and video clips. Unlike rival IM platforms, ChatON also does hand-written notes, animated messages and social features allowing users to give their buddies so-called “Interaction Rank”. In addition, Samsung will be taking ChatON to competing platforms like Research In Motion’s Blackberry OS and Apple’s iOS, guaranteeing mass market appeal and cross-platform messaging.