Google Assistant may soon come to feature phones


Android Go is not the only important thing announced by Google earlier today. An important improvement with the potential to impact a much larger pool of mobile phone users only briefly mentioned by Google.

Apparently, Google Assistant will be customized to work on feature phones. To show it's serious about it, Google announced that it's bringing its Assistant to a feature phone that's only available in India, the Reliance JioPhone. The handset is powered by a custom operating system called KaiOS, based on Firefox OS, and has its own voice assistant – HelloJio.

In order to be able to put its Assistant inside the JioPhone, Google had to customize it to fit on the phone's 2.4-inch QVGA display. Even so, the UI is different from what we're seeing today on the smartphones, and some of the more advanced features haven't been implemented.

The good news is the core functionality is available for those using the JioPhone. Although this looks more like a test for Google Assistant, it's possible that more feature phones will be getting the voice assistant in the future.

There are hundreds of millions of people all over the globe who are still using feature phones, so Google's move does seem bold at first glance. It remains to be seen whether or not the initiative will extend to feature phones in countries other than India.

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