At the latest I/O, Google announced a new OS for the entry-level Android devices. Named Android GO, the OS will be a spin-off of the upcoming Android O. The possible release date is going to be sometime in 2018.
Why Android GO?
Currently, devices with less than 1GB RAM find it increasingly hard to run Android smoothly. One reason for this is the default apps from Google are getting heavier day by day.
Unlike Apple, Google doesn’t have a direct control over the hardware of Android devices. There is a high number of entry-level mobile phones in the developing countries that run Android on a very low powered hardware.
Google wants to keep its stronghold on this entry level market by bringing out an OS that runs smoothly even if the hardware capability is low.
The company wanted to do something similar before with Android One. That project wasn’t successful though. So, Google is taking a different approach this time.
In future, every phone that has less than 1 GB RAM will automatically run Android GO instead of O. However, apart from low memory requirements it’s not very clear how the new OS is going to be.
Here are some features of Android GO that we have come to know so far –
Low memory requirements:
As mentioned before, Android GO can run on a very low memory. Even devices with 512 MB of RAM will be able to run it smoothly. Google is optimizing the UI and kernel of its OS to achieve this.
Better security for entry level devices:
Built on Android O, the GO will have all the security improvements of Google’s latest OS. That is a great news for entry level device owners who previously couldn’t upgrade to newer versions of Android.
Google will not only optimize the OS to run on low memory but also release new versions of its apps for it. These apps will require a lot less hardware capability and data.
Google previewed one such example app – the YouTube GO. Unlike the default YouTube app for Android, the GO version will let you download videos via wifi for offline viewing and select video quality before it gets played. You will also be able to have a quick preview of any video before actually playing it.
Optimised Play Store:
The Play Store in Android GO will feature apps that can run on low memory and processing power. Apart from Google, Facebook and Microsoft (Skype) has already released GO optimized versions of their respective apps.
Less data usage:
As GO targets the developing countries with comparatively poor net accessibility, Google has decided to give the users more control over data usage and make the OS less data hungry. This is understandable as people who rely mostly on cellular data will find it very helpful. GO will also let you track data usage and provide better data management settings.
Currently, there are more than 1.6 billion Android devices all over the world. With Android GO, Google is aiming to get the next 1 billion on board.
It’s not clear if Google will also partner up with hardware manufacturers to build GO-specific devices. But it’s sure that all low-end Android devices in the developing countries will get the chance to run Android GO and have a better UI experience.