Google Releases a Stripped-down Version of Android for Entry-Level Devices

Posted on December 5, 2017 by Mehedi Hassan in Mobile, Android with 12 Comments

Google announced its plans for a stripped-down version of Android back at Google I/O earlier this year. The company is now releasing the new variant, dubbed Android Go (aka Android Oreo Go Edition) for entry-level devices to OEMs. The release of Android Go will pave the way for dozens of new entry-level Android phones that come at very low prices for emerging markets like India.

The main point of Android Go is to provide an optimized experience for devices with low-end hardware, and this includes devices that come with only 512MB or 1GB of RAM. To achieve this, Google has optimized Android at the OS-level to offer improved performance on these devices.

For one, the OS will give users 2x more free storage than a regular Android Oreo device, and the company has also included other enhancements throughout the OS that’ll contribute to the improved performance. This includes a much simpler recent app lists without the fancy animations that you get to see on a regular Android Oreo device and an optimize Quick Settings section in the notifications centre that focus on data usage, battery life, and storage.

Google’s new Go apps are also a big part of Android Go. Devices running Android Go will come with Google apps that are almost 50% smaller in size and optimized for low data usage. Google’s line of Go apps so far includes YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, and Gmail Go. The company says it has also optimized its Gboard, Google Play, and Chrome apps for Android Go as well. The optimized version of Google Play will highlight apps like Skype Lite and Messenger Lite that are built for low-end devices, while the optimized Chrome comes with Data Saver enabled by default.

Google’s also launching a new variant of the Google Search app called Google Go that optimizes data usage by up to 40% and helps new internet users discover content on the web. The company has even optimized Google Assistant for Go devices to offer a faster performance on devices with less than 1GB of RAM.

To top it all off, all Android Go devices will come with a new Files Go app from the company which is a file manager app which can also help with removing clutter from your device. Files Go comes with a neat feature that lets you transfer files sized up to 125MB to nearby devices for free without using any data — kind of like SHAREIt — which is an incredibly popular app in developing countries like India, Bangladesh, etc.

Android Go is an ambitious project for Google. The company wants to reach the next billion users with Android Go, and optimizing Android to offer a fluid experience on low-end hardware seems to be the way to go. It will be interesting to see if Google decides to rollout Android Go as a new update to existing Android One devices, which are also targetted towards emerging markets.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Google Releases a Stripped-down Version of Android for Entry-Level Devices”

  1. Piras

    I wish Apple would do something like that for our older Apple hardware. No chance I guess.

  2. Tony Barrett

    Makes sense. Emerging markets with low incomes still want smart phones, and even £200 devices over here are too expensive. If it's optimized as promised, the next 1B could follow quite quickly. A phone with a low-ish end Snapdragon (or Chinese knock-off), 1GB RAM, 8GB flash and a 720P screen would very likely be sub-£100.

  3. Peter Hultqvist

    For one, the OS will give users 2x more free storage than a regular Android Oreo device

    Did anyone show the calculation behind this statement.

    To make sense it would mean that the regular os takes at least half of the available storage.

    Example 8GB storage.

    Regular os uses 6 GB, 2GB free.

    2X free is 2 times 2GB.

    The go os takes 4 GB of storage.

  4. wocowboy

    In a few years, once the phone manufacturers and carriers have "tested it" and piled on their ridiculous amounts of bloatware, adware and generally worthless apps and customizations, users on lower-end devices may start to see this new Go edition of Android. But I would not hold my breath on that.

  5. Nicholas Kathrein

    I think this is great an assume it can be upgraded more easily with project treble meaning the yearly updates should be much easier to do. We'll see how or if vendors screw it up.

  6. Lewk

    This shouldn't just be aimed at low-end or emerging markets. I would love this on a High-End device. Data is expensive, even in Australia. I also don't need fancy animations and the cruft this OS gets rid of.

  7. Andyd

    What can’t this version of Android do that standard can? My point being, why isn’t Android just optimised like this anyway? Just because a phone has 2 or 3GB of RAM, or 32GB storage, doesn’t mean that the OS has to consume it all.

    To put it another way, why wouldn’t you run this version.

  8. MikeGalos

    Wow. That's even more restricted compared to Android than Windows S.

    Odd that we're not seeing people complaining at least as much and "Android S" doesn't give you the option of upgrading short of replacing your hardware.

  9. karlinhigh

    I like this "optimized" direction of development. So often, effects of higher-performance hardware are lost beneath system designs that add animations, transitions, transparencies, what-have-you. These bog things down just to look cool now, and then within 5 years will get blamed for looking "dated." (Example: Windows Aero.)

    With the hardware we have today, is there any excuse for any local app having a "load time?" I'd like to see systems that always respond instantly, instead of leaving me wondering if I'm waiting for the device or if it's waiting for me.

  10. Maxpayne

    I have heard about this news and yeah, this is great initiative from Google. This makes it possible to manufacture budget smartphones which everyone could buy. With this OS, the components needed would be so basic and this makes it cheap to manufacture.

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  11. jhondipu

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