Google is planning to launch Google Assistant on more feature phones soon

by | Jan 7, 2019

During a recent interview with The Verge, Manuel Bronstein, Google‘s Vice President of Google Assistant revealed that by the end of January, its virtual assistant is expected to be on 1 billion devices worldwide — up from 500 million as of May 2018.

In addition, Google is planning to launch its virtual assistant on more feature phones soon. As the number of feature phones continues to experience a surge in emerging markets, especially Africa, the company wants to explore the massive opportunity it presents.

“There are large, large numbers of feature phones in the market today — hundreds of millions. But if you think about writing, reading, and typing on those feature phones, it’s not that simple. And the voice-first interaction is becoming increasingly important in those markets, and we’re beginning to see traction there,” Manuel said.

In June 2018, the company invested $22 million into KaiOS, a company that builds operating systems for feature phone manufacturers like Nokia.

As part of the investment, KaiOS devices will offer Google services like Search, Maps, YouTube and Google Assistant, like in the case of the KaiOS-powered Nokia phones announced earlier in 2018 and expected to be available this year.

Suggested ReadMTN’s $25 “smart feature phone” will bring arguably 3rd most popular mobile OS to Africa

The inclusion of Google Assistant and speech-to-text technology in feature phones will help text entry easier. We’ll know more about Google’s plans for feature phones next month at the World Mobile Congress.

Titilola Oludimu
Titilola Oludimu

I’m always open to new experiences.

On January 22, 2022, be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent News

Uber’s bet on ‘Okada’

Uber’s bet on ‘Okada’

Today on #TechpointDigest, @nifemeah discusses Uber’s launching its motorbike hailing service, UberMoto, in Ibadan.

Subscribe to Techpoint Digest!

A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Crypto Explorer

A monthly series featuring in-depth analysis on the cryptocurrency sector in Africa

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to The Experts

A bi-weekly where tech career specialists take us on their journey from newbie to expert, and how they became successful in the industry.

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Founder's Table

A monthly series, where we catch up with founders in the startup ecosystem, learn about their failures, successes and a few tricks of the trade

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap