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.