What you need to know
- HMD Global is reportedly working on an Android feature phone.
- Called the Nokia 400 4G, it'll ship with a new variant of Android customised for the form factor.
- New evidence of its existence was just spotted on the Wi-Fi Alliance.
HMD Global, the company behind the Nokia brand, might be getting ready to bring Android to the feature phone world. A phone known as the Nokia 400 4G was spotted on the Wi-Fi Alliance website. While ordinarily not interesting, what drew attention was the operating system it was said to run, GAFP.
As recalled by XDA Developers, GAFP was first referenced a year ago in the very first leak of an Android-powered feature phone. The report came from 9to5Google, showing off Android apps and the Google Assistant. In the About Phone header, GAFP was listed as the operating system on a later video that surfaced. It's not clear what GAFP stands for (Google Android for Feature Phones?), nor has it been officially announced by Google.
If I had to speculate, I'd say that it'd be a natural extension of the Android Go project, building a version of Android that can run on less than full-fat proper Android. It makes a bit of sense for feature phones, Android as it is now is touch-first and resource-intensive. Feature phones are touchless and resource-constrained. It's also worth noting that HMD-Global has been very much an involved partner on Google Android projects, pushing out phones powered by both Android One and Android Go. If Google were to make a feature phone OS, the firm is likely a willing partner.
Android has run on everything from laptops, to tablets, and even on the desktop via Chrome OS and emulation. What it hasn't yet approached is the feature phone market. If HMD Global thinks it can pull it off, it's going to be a very wait and see thing. Other rumored HMD Global projects this year include the Nokia 9.2 and a possible foldable phone. After a boring 2019, the Nokia brand may be worth watching in 2020.