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Google announces Android Go, An OS targeting entry-level devices

by Terry Gachie
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Android Go is Google’s light-weight operating system designed to run on Android devices that come with 1GB of memory or less.

Google calls it a lighter version of Android O.

In other words, the OS caters for devices with basic specifications.

Android Go is expected to reduce the price of hardware making it within reach for more people in India, Indonesia, Africa, and other developing regions.

This means that the target is emerging and developing markets.

This further translates into better penetration for affordable smartphones in these regions.

The new OS was announced during Google I/O 2017 and is expected to reach more devices as Android reach currently stands at 2 billion devices.This majority of these are premium devices.

This majority of these are premium devices.

The announcement reminded us of Android One initiative that was introduced in 2014.

This initiative seeks to create a version of Android platform for low specs devices.

While this initiative appeared to have potential, it never really took off and Google left us in the dark about what happened behind the scenes.

Google, nevertheless, seems determined to capture the low-end market segment since they did not stop at Android One and its mysterious disappearance.

Android Go was unveiled by Google’s vice president of product management Sameer Samat.

He disclosed that there is an opportunity in the low-end market and since most devices used by this segment are not very powerful, it is vital to ensure they have the best experience.

He gave India as an example of a country with a huge market.

Features of Android Go

Since we have already defined Android Go, it is only fair to look at some facts and its main features.

• The OS is optimized for the entry-level hardware. That is why the Kernel and User Interface uses less memory (1GB or less).

• Android Go will have Android data manager turned on by default and this will especially benefit users who do not have unlimited data plans.

• It will enhance data management in that its configuration helps a user to keep an eye on data and power usage. Samat said that Go will display clear data usage patterns and allow users to top up from within the app.

• It will come with versions of Google apps that use less storage, memory, and data. For instance, it will come with a rebuilt version of Play Store that will have apps designed for slower handsets and also display the whole app catalog.

Examples of rebuilt Google apps are YouTube Go which allows people using limited connectivity or less data to access, download, and share YouTube videos.

Google has confirmed that Google Go will be installed by default on every device with 1GB RAM or less.

Going forward, different versions of Android will have a GO variant.

This only means that the tech world may continue talking about it even in coming months.

Since Android is the most popular OS in the world, the decision to introduce a platform for the emerging markets makes total sense.

Android One may not have done very well but the decision to introduce Go makes total sense.

The OS is expected to be rolled out alongside the long awaited Android O.

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