Google has launched its lightweight version of Android, offering a slimmed-down OS and apps that take up less space to improve life for people with entry-level smartphones.
Called the somewhat unwieldy Android Oreo Go edition, it is launching alongside the Android 8.1 release.
Sagar Kamdar, Android’s director of product management, said there are now two billion devices running the operating system around the world, with more users in India than the US.
But many of those devices in developing markets are low-end with little memory or internal storage, and for many users downloading data is either difficult, expensive, or both.
As a result, for many the experience they get from their smartphone is poor and frustrating. Apps can be costly to download, and it’s hard to install more than a few, and those are slow to run.
“To make sure billions more people can get access to computing, it’s important that entry-level devices are fully functioning smartphones that can browse the web and use apps,” said Kamdar.
Google says Android Oreo Go will improve speed and reliability on lower-cost devices, with apps running 15 percent faster on entry level.
These basic devices often come very little storage space left once you account for the size of the OS and the preinstalled apps. Oreo Go’s preinstalled Google apps will now take up half as much space as before.
Devices running the entry-level version of Android Oreo will also come with Google’s data-saver features turned on by default. Google said using Data Saver in Chrome saves the average user more than 600MB of data per year.
Preinstalled on Android Oreo Go devices, the set of optimized apps includes Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and the new Files Go app by Google.
Google Go is a new information app that promises to reduce data by up to 40 percent and takes up 5MB of space. The Go Edition also features the new file-management app, Files Go, which makes recommendations like removing duplicate images or unused apps to help save space on your device.
Google’s Play Store will also include a new section aimed at apps for entry-level devices, although these devices should also be able to download any app, assuming that there’s room for it.
Android Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of memory will come with the all the Go optimizations. Google said devices running on Android Oreo Go will be on the shelves “in the coming months”.
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