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December 5, 2017

Google’s Android Go for low-end smartphones to launch alongside Android 8.1 Oreo

by John_A

Remember Android Go? In May, Google announced it would be making a scaled-down version of Android to run on entry-level devices with between 1GB and 512MB of RAM. These sorts of low-powered devices have proven key in getting smartphones into developing markets like India and Brazil, and Google was keen to offer a smooth and full-featured experience on those devices. At a Google For India 2017 press conference, the company said it’s finally launching Android Go alongside the updated version of Android Oreo, Android 8.1 Oreo.

Essentially a pared-down version of Android, Android Go focuses on a few specific areas that allows it to run smoothly on low-powered, entry-level smartphones. First off is the massive decrease in operating system (OS) size. As Android has matured and phones storage spaces have increased, the amount of space the operating system eats up has grown. Since entry-level phones are less likely to have room to spare, the less space the OS takes, the more people have for their pictures and videos. Android Go is roughly half the size of Android 7.0 Nougat, saving a good deal of space for media the user really wants.

Android Go is roughly half the size of Android 7.0 Nougat.

Google’s companion apps have also been downsized. Each Android Go phone will come with “Go” versions of the usual pre-installed Google apps; Google Maps, YouTube, Google Assistant, and Gmail all have “Go” versions that take up less space, require fewer resources to run, and run faster than their usual versions. The company said most “Go” apps run an average of 15-percent faster than the normal versions.

Also included in Android Go is Google’s Data Saver mode from its Chrome browser. Mobile data can cost quite a pretty penny in developing markets, and a megabyte saved is a megabyte earned. It’s why Google worked hard to reduce the amount of data used by Android Go, because this mode is turned on by default. The company estimates that Chrome’s Data Saver can save the average user 600MB of data in a year, so it expects this system-wide feature to help even more. You can also share content with other people via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, helping you save even more data.

A new app called Files Go, which is available on the Play Store for all Android phones, also will help clean up space on your phone.

In Android Go, the Google Play Store offers a streamlined experience, showcasing Go-optimized apps that won’t impact storage space or run slowly, and phones are also protected with Google’s Play Protect, which is now a standard security feature in all Android Oreo devices.

Android Go will launch tomorrow, alongside the new version of Android 8.1 Oreo, and it will be shipped on various entry-level devices within the coming months. Google also has a program called Android One, where it installs stock Android on low-end smartphones and offers instant version and security updates. It’s likely we’ll see Android Go installed in future Android One smartphones. We’ve reached out to Google for comment.

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