As part of today’s Google I/O keynote address, the company officially announced Android Go. It’s a new effort by Google to launch budget-friendly Android smartphones for developing markets.
You might be wondering if you have heard this same tune before, and you would be right. A few years ago, Google launched a similar effort with Android One. However, it has not seen much success in terms of sales of new and cheap devices to those targeted markets. The new Android Go platform looks like it has many of the same goals as the older Android One, but with hopefully some improvements that will allow Google to have a better shot at selling more phones.
Google says that Android Go will basically be a lightweight version of the upcoming Android O, but designed to run on smartphones that have 1 GB, or even 512 MB, of RAM. Going forward, all Android smartphones that have 1 GB of RAM or less will automatically run Android Go. In addition to the operating system being modified to work on low memory devices, the apps that will be available from the Google Play Store will also be optimized to run on the lower-end hardware.
Perhaps the biggest feature for YouTube Go is that it will allow users to download videos for offline viewing later if they are near a Wi-Fi connection.
One example of such an app is YouTube Go. When running on an Android Go smartphone, the app will let users see preview frames of any video they want. The app also supports the selection of video quality of any clip before streaming begins. Perhaps the biggest feature for YouTube Go is that it will allow users to download videos for offline viewing later if they are near a Wi-Fi connection. This feature is available already for paid YouTube Red subscribers, but it will be a free feature for the YouTube Go app and Android Go phones.
The Play Store in Android Go will also feature apps made specifically for power and data consumption. In fact, data management is a big feature for the OS, and owners of an Android Go phone will be able to check out data use directly on its notification settings panel.
There’s a lot we don’t know yet about Android Go, including which third-party phone companies will launch devices specifically for the platform. There’s also no word if Google itself will launch its own hardware devices with Android Go. Finally, we don’t yet know which markets will offer Android Go phones, but it’s a safe bet that India will be a prime target for the platform. The only thing we do know is that Google is targeting a 2018 launch for Android Go, so there will clearly be a lot more announcements on that front over the next several months.
In the meantime, what do you think of Android Go? Will it generate a big boost for overall Android device activations in emerging markets, or will it suffer the same fate as Android One? Let us know your opinions in the comments!