Since its announcement in May 2017 at Google I/O, Android Go is something that we have all been looking forward to. In case you didn’t know, Android Go is essentially a lighter version of the Android operating system. This is so that devices with low specs and users with limited connectivity can use the latest versions of Android. It is also optimized for multilingual use.
Today, Google announced that Android Go would be made available for device manufacturers and developers. Based on the latest Android 8.1 Oreo, the lighter version of Android is designed to run on smartphones with either 512MB or 1GB of RAM.
What exactly is Android GO (Oreo Edition)?
As the name suggests, this is a less resource hungry version of Android 8.1 Oreo. It’s not exactly a fork of Android, but rather, a variant of the operating system. So this means that manufacturers will have to ensure that their devices have certain configurations set.
For starters, all devices under the Android Go platform would use the “Go” version of Google apps. These apps are much smaller in size compared to the regular versions. In fact, the app size is almost halved in some cases.
This includes the main Google app, Google Assistant, Google Maps etc. Apps such as YouTube Go have inbuilt features to download videos over Wi-Fi for those with mobile connectivity issues. Improving storage options on Android Go devices, there are also performance and storage improvements.
This has its pros and cons as while the app is optimized to take up less storage space, it also means that the app would take a bit more time to launch. Android Go would also have the newly released Datally app inbuilt and would also run all internet traffic accessed through Google Chrome via a Google server that would reduce file sizes to save data even further.
With Files Go, which is another new app from Google you can quickly find files and get rid of any unwanted ones to free up more space. The Google App store has been modified as well. While it will still download any app on to a device, it will also highlight the apps that are designed specifically to work best on Android Go devices.
How is this different from Android One?
If you recall, Android One was where Google would partner with device manufacturers to pick and choose what specifications are included in the smartphone and then keep it up to date akin to how the Nexus and Pixel lineup of devices were.
Android Go, on the other hand, is a fully fledged release of the Android operating system from AOSP (Android Open Source Project) for any manufacturer to use. So the manufacturer themselves can pick the hardware. But what makes Android Go special is Google’s own set of apps.
When can we expect Android Go?
Well, with Android 8.1 officially launching tomorrow, we can pretty much expect Android Go to be launched alongside that as well. In terms of device availability, devices will take a bit of time so we will just have to wait and see. If you are interested in being a developer for Android Go and for the next billion users, or you want to learn more, you can click here and here.