Google announces ‘Android Go’ for the next billion users

Rumors have said in weeks past that Google would bring its Android One program to the U.S. to compete with Samsung and its entry-level, budget-friendly Android handsets. Google has not yet done that, but the company has unveiled its strategy to tackle the budget-friendly market worldwide at Google I/O 2017. Its solution? Android Go with Android O.

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Android Go is designed to optimize the mobile experience for handsets running 1GB RAM or less and allow these handsets to run the latest Android OS without trouble. Tackling the experience on budget-friendly handsets is complicated by not only the OS but also mobile data; after all, entry-level smartphone owners can’t afford mobile data price hikes or overage fees. Then, there’s the internal storage: since entry-level handsets often have 8GB instead of 16GB, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB, there’s a great need to reduce app sizes so that users can download a sufficient number of apps without running out of storage space quickly.

Making a handset that dodges these three hurdles is a torch Google is taking up in Android O with the new Android Go configuration for entry-level handsets. Android Go looks to tackle the three hurdles above by way of the OS, apps, and Google Play Store. First, the OS will include data management and savings settings so that users can cut down on their mobile data usage while still accessing the functionality they need. A large part of saving data and conserving what little data users have involves not only the ‘Data Saver’ within Chrome (which is part of Android One phones) but also allowing users to “top up” their data on their smartphones. Google will allow users to increase their data on their phones without needing to download or use another app to do so.

Next, the OS for Android Go will consume less data so that it won’t become RAM-aggressive and occupy too much storage space on the device. When RAM becomes too aggressive, apps close quickly or suddenly without warning and storage space, quickly occupied, causes all sorts of applications to just fall apart. If a device has no more than 1GB of RAM, then current RAM-aggressive Android needs a scale-down to something lighter. Storage space will be saved in the process, freeing up space for users to download more apps and encourage more mobile interaction.

To add to the fluidity and functionality of the OS to help maintain a good experience for entry-level handsets, Google has decided to create a YouTube Go for Android Go phones that will allow sharing and video downloading offline in places where data coverage is nonexistent or spotty (or when cellular usage has reached its peak). Google looks to have built-in language translation where users need not download translators of any sort to communicate in a different language with friends who may not speak the same language as they do. Apps for Android Go will be “Lite” (“Facebook Messenger Lite” and “Skype Lite” are two such examples), meaning that they will maintain the same functionality as found on premium phones while requiring a lot less storage space. Google intends to add more languages over the next year to its translate function.

For developers who want to develop apps for Android Go, Google has launched a campaign called “Building for Billions,” where developers can create “lite” apps that will perform for the best of the entry-level encounter.

Android Go phones will ship pre-loaded with Android O, but won’t ship until 2018. The agenda behind this is to enhance the Android experience for the next billion users worldwide. To learn more about the new features in Android O, hit up this post.

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