Google reveals 'Android Go' operating system optimized for low-specification smartphones

Posted:
in General Discussion
Google is doubling down on increasing Android's market share in emerging markets with the creation of 'Android Go,' a version of Android O optimized for lower-specification entry-level Android devices and the bandwidth constraints of local infrastructure where those devices are sold.




Android Go is designed to be used on smartphones and tablets with 1 gigabyte of memory or less. Able to be used with just 512 megabytes of RAM, the modified Android O will be optimized to minimize power usage, prolonging battery life while still trying to keep apps running as smoothly as possible.

To keep data allowance usage to a minimum, data management tools will be made as visible as possible to users. An API will be made available to carriers, letting users see their account's usage from within their smartphone's settings, and to top up from within the same menus.

Google is also producing versions of its own apps that use less memory and storage space, as well as reducing the amount of data each one uses. Versions of YouTube Go, Chrome, and Gboard with these requirements in mind will be included in the operating system, with Chrome's Data Saver feature enabled by default.

A customized version of the Google Play Store will be available from Android Go devices that will highlight third-party apps optimized for the operating system. These apps need to take up less than 10MB of storage and have a useful offline state in order to be considered for highlighting in the store, as well as appropriate battery usage and memory requirements.

Google plans for Android Go to be an ongoing project for future iterations of Android. Starting with Android O, all devices shipping in 2018 with 1GB of RAM or less will have a Go configuration option, with later Android versions expected to undergo the same treatment.

Android Go is likely to be welcomed by device producers in emerging markets, due to the lower specification hardware necessitating the use of older, more compatible versions of Android. Older versions of Android pose a security risk to device owners compared to more recent releases, so gaining access to the latest version of the operating system should help customers become more secure.

A previous attempt by Google to take on emerging markets took aim at device hardware, rather than software. The Android One" initiative involved Google working with local device vendors to produce low-cost smartphones for each market, with Google providing hardware reference designs to lower development costs and speed up production.

Apple has also been making moves on emerging markets, including selling a 32GB-capacity iPhone 6 in China, Taiwan, and India earlier this year. Apple has also commenced production of the iPhone SE in India as part of requirements to open its own retail outlets in the region, a move that could cut the cost of the device by up to $100 in the country.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    repressthisrepressthis Posts: 388member
    Smart move to fork the OS, keeping the lowest common denominator off their bread and butter, potentially elevating the platform. 
    longpathwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 36
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Ready, set, Android Go!

    The race to the bottom begins!
    MisterKitMuntzrepressthisjbdragonwatto_cobra[Deleted User]redgeminipa
  • Reply 3 of 36
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Smart move to fork the OS, keeping the lowest common denominator off their bread and butter, potentially elevating the platform. 
    Sarcasm right?
    pscooter63Muntzjbdragonwatto_cobra[Deleted User]MacPro
  • Reply 4 of 36
    windows me-ification of android!
    Muntzwatto_cobraMacPro
  • Reply 5 of 36
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,444member
    cali said:
    Ready, set, Android Go!

    The race to the bottom begins!
    On the other hand if it is designed as a bottom feeder, there isn't much of a problem. If all they really care about is existing under the constraints of low tech infrastructure, it makes some sense. After all if Google Search works, it's a plus for them.
    longpath
  • Reply 6 of 36
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 911member
    Yes, because the lowest common denominator always moves the needle.
    /s
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 36
    longpathlongpath Posts: 217member
    The question remains whether the Android "partners" (handset manufacturers) will be able to resist the temptation to undo any optimizations by installation of bloatware.
    watto_cobra[Deleted User]
  • Reply 8 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    Yes, because the lowest common denominator always moves the needle.
    /s
    The lowest common denominator grows their share of eyeballs using Google, which is the real goal.
    repressthis
  • Reply 9 of 36
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,034member
    cali said:
    Ready, set, Android Go!

    The race to the bottom begins!
    The race to the new bottom begins. These company's are already making very little money or losing money and now even cheaper phones? Ouch. Seems like a bad movie to go this direction. Spitting the OS like this. Cheap hardware and cheap phones as for more 3rd party crapware in the name of trying to turn a profit.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,836member
    jbdragon said:
    cali said:
    Ready, set, Android Go!

    The race to the bottom begins!
    The race to the new bottom begins. These company's are already making very little money or losing money and now even cheaper phones? Ouch. Seems like a bad movie to go this direction. Spitting the OS like this. Cheap hardware and cheap phones as for more 3rd party crapware in the name of trying to turn a profit.
    Google's profits are up, so it's working for them.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,268member
    jbdragon said:
    cali said:
    Ready, set, Android Go!

    The race to the bottom begins!
    The race to the new bottom begins. These company's are already making very little money or losing money and now even cheaper phones? Ouch. Seems like a bad movie to go this direction. Spitting the OS like this. Cheap hardware and cheap phones as for more 3rd party crapware in the name of trying to turn a profit.
    Even if Google never saw a penny from it people born into poor areas in India, Africa, Indonesia and other 3rd world places will benefit. They'll gain access to information and resources that might help them improve their condition.

    Just because someone cannot afford an iPhone does not mean they are unworthy of the potential benefit a smartphone offers. Personally I quite like the idea that Google is at least trying to address them and their needs. It's no race to the bottom, it's an effort to expand availability to those that are very often forgotten and ignored because they happen to be poor. 
    tokyojimumuthuk_vanalingamsingularity
  • Reply 12 of 36
    I have a old Motorola running Andriod.  I'd upgrade to Go for the continued OS support/updates if offered.

    Batter life it's terrible, Go would extend the life of the phone.  There is nothing else wrong with it...
  • Reply 13 of 36
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,991moderator
    On one hand, Google is learning (it's about more than just hardware specs and checkbox features).

    On the other hand, what they are doing with this initiative is also good for Apple.  Expanding the number of first-time smartphone owners worldwide.  As Tim Cook said, Andriod is a training ground for many eventual iPhone owners.  Plus what Gatorguy said; it's good for impoverished people, as a smartphone can be an enabling technology to help enterprising individuals move up the economic ladder.  And that, of course, is also good for Apple, as it's among that subset where some will eventually switch to a more premium phone, spelled I P H O N E.
    watto_cobraredgeminipa
  • Reply 14 of 36
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    gatorguy said:
    jbdragon said:
    cali said:
    Ready, set, Android Go!

    The race to the bottom begins!
    The race to the new bottom begins. These company's are already making very little money or losing money and now even cheaper phones? Ouch. Seems like a bad movie to go this direction. Spitting the OS like this. Cheap hardware and cheap phones as for more 3rd party crapware in the name of trying to turn a profit.
    Even if Google never saw a penny from it people born into poor areas in India, Africa, Indonesia and other 3rd world places will benefit. They'll gain access to information and resources that might help them improve their condition.

    Just because someone cannot afford an iPhone does not mean they are unworthy of the potential benefit a smartphone offers. Personally I quite like the idea that Google is at least trying to address them and their needs. It's no race to the bottom, it's an effort to expand availability to those that are very often forgotten and ignored because they happen to be poor. 
    Oh yes... it's all about goog's morals. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 36
    mubailimubaili Posts: 387member
    more fragmentation and more burdens on developers. And wasn't it called Android One a year ago?
    Rayz2016watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,208moderator
    Smart move to fork the OS, keeping the lowest common denominator off their bread and butter, potentially elevating the platform. 
    Definitely, if there's anything Android was in need of, it was more fragmentation. Now people can be half as likely to get their device updated. Fragmented apps and store too.

    Apple is actually planning to do the same though in making an efficient OS able to run smoothly on just 512MB RAM. It's called doing it right in the first place.
    pscooter63Rayz2016[Deleted User]redgeminipa
  • Reply 17 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,268member
    Marvin said:
    Smart move to fork the OS, keeping the lowest common denominator off their bread and butter, potentially elevating the platform. 
    Definitely, if there's anything Android was in need of, it was more fragmentation. Now people can be half as likely to get their device updated. Fragmented apps and store too.

    Apple is actually planning to do the same though in making an efficient OS able to run smoothly on just 512MB RAM. It's called doing it right in the first place.
    It's not a separate OS. It's a subset of whatever the current full-version is. It's not adding to fragmentation.

    And if Apple is PLANNING to do the same then they didn't do it right in the first place either.  ;)
    repressthis
  • Reply 18 of 36
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    ... 'Android Go,' a version of Android O optimized for lower-specification entry-level Android devices ...
    There's your real Nexus.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 36
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 989member
    Just wait until they want to install Pokemon Go in that. Or other resource demanding apps. It has potential to bite Android and/or Google at the back. Pun intended.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 36
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,214member
    gatorguy said:
    jbdragon said:
    cali said:
    Ready, set, Android Go!

    The race to the bottom begins!
    The race to the new bottom begins. These company's are already making very little money or losing money and now even cheaper phones? Ouch. Seems like a bad movie to go this direction. Spitting the OS like this. Cheap hardware and cheap phones as for more 3rd party crapware in the name of trying to turn a profit.
    Even if Google never saw a penny from it people born into poor areas in India, Africa, Indonesia and other 3rd world places will benefit. They'll gain access to information and resources that might help them improve their condition.

    Just because someone cannot afford an iPhone does not mean they are unworthy of the potential benefit a smartphone offers. Personally I quite like the idea that Google is at least trying to address them and their needs. It's no race to the bottom, it's an effort to expand availability to those that are very often forgotten and ignored because they happen to be poor. 


    The thing is that the poor areas in India (I cannot speak for other countries) are already being exposed to the Information Superhighway. There are feature phone/ smartphone hybrids that allow access to the Internet and apps. All of those phones are some variations of Android already. What exactly is Google gaining with Go?

    If Google leaves it to the carriers to use the API then good luck. Android Go will end up with the same bloatware that Android suffers from.


    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.