If you’ve been living with a smartphone for the longest time, then you probably think all phones are like this. But there is still a pretty substantial feature phone market out there and Google has even invested in KaiOS, a platform for those devices. It looks like they are also experimenting with a Chrome browser that will work on these feature phones as they’re developing a touchless mode. This will be the default browsing mode for devices that don’t have a touch input.
The touchless mode was seen in Chromium’s Gerrit source code management and some screenshots of what it will look like were shared by some Google developers. Explore will be on the bottom left and Options on the bottom right and there are three buttons labeled 1, 2, and 3. It looks like this particular UI was intended for feature phones like that of Nokia.
Google has to build this version from scratch though as Chrome has never been used in a feature phone before. This means they’ll have to build things like scrolling and page navigation where you will have to use your phone’s d-pad with its up, down, left, right buttons. They will also have to bring a cursor mode to help users navigate through the webpage with the traditional cursor to be controlled by the d-pad.
But of course, since feature phones are specifically meant to be low-powered, then some features of Chrome cannot be translated there. You probably won’t be able to have an Incognito Mode and you will only be able to have one tab open. And while on Android, pressing back will close Chrome, the feature phone will have it stay open in the background until you run out of memory and it is forced to close.
While we’re still not sure where Google is going with this one, the fact that they’re investing millions into KaiOS and they’re bringing their apps to feature phones, is an indication of the direction that this touchless Chrome will be going in.
VIA: 9 to 5 Google