With Google’s backing, KaiOS has been able to deliver a host of smartphone-like apps and services to its feature phone users who aren’t just ready to make the jump yet. The devices running KaiOS have so far picked up support for popular apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, Google Maps, and even Assistant, although as stripped-down versions. Google is now enhancing the Assistant’s capabilities on the OS by integrating Lens’ camera translate mode, which works with a handful of Indian languages from the get-go.
With Google Lens, you’ll be able to take a picture of any real-world text and instantly translate it into a local language that you understand. In addition to English, Lens right now supports Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, and Tamil, while Kannada and Gujarati are expected to join soon. The Assistant can even read aloud the translated text or let you search a word’s definition from the same screen, as shown below. To access the Assistant, you’ll need to long press the center button that has the mic icon and then navigate to Camera translate using the d-pad.
These Google Lens additions should go live for all KaiOS users in India, where the OS has a massive userbase, thanks in large part to the uber-popular JioPhone. After investing millions of dollars in KaiOS, Google doubled down on this niche segment and brought a host of India-centric features, including system-wide support for local languages, voice-based functions, and much more. More recently, Google bought a stake in Reliance Jio — the maker of the JioPhone — to co-develop more budget smartphones.