ANDROID GO is go, as Google has launched a stripped back version of its mobile operating system designed for low-spec smartphones.
First revealed at the Google I/O conference earlier this year, 'Android Go (Oreo Edition)' is being pushed out to device manufacturers and developers with the goal of being able to run well on phones and tablets with less than 1GB of RAM.
Now there's not a lot of phones that don't have at least 2GB of RAM and there are some with almost redundant amounts of memory; the OnePlus 5T has 6GB for example.
But through rigorous optimisations, Google claims it has tweaked Android Oreo to smoothly on low-end devices, which should be a boon for people who don't want to fork out large amounts of cash or sign up to lengthy and expensive mobile contracts for a flagship phone.
"With our new and reimagined Google apps, we've focused on making them not only smaller, but smooth and fast too," Sagar Kamdar, director of product management at Google's Android division explained.
"For example, Google Go—a new app to find the information you want—optimises data by up to 40 percent, weighs less than 5MB in size, and makes it faster to find popular and trending information with a simple, tappable interface. And with the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition), you can quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more with your voice and a single touch of the screen."
Android Go consists of three areas of optimisation; the core operating system, Google apps, and the Play Store, with the latter highlighting apps that'll work best on a user's device.
App optimisations have also been designed to take up less storage space. So phones without much in the way of onboard or upgradable storage can still make use of popular Android apps, like Gmail, Chrome and Google Maps.
So Android Go could usher in a whole new generation of low-end smartphones, ideal for countries where a Galaxy S8 is far too expensive, and offering the potential for people to have cheap but practical backup phones.
And all manner of smart gadgets with limited processors and RAM could end up getting a dose of low-fi Android; 2018 could be very interesting for small tech builders and developers. µ
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