At the Google I/O 2017 event held in May, Google made public its official plans about Android Go and today, the OS is now a reality.
The Mountain View tech giant has just unveiled a new Android Go operating system based on the latest Android Oreo and apparently, the OS is already available for developers and OEMs. Of course, this not only means the OS isn’t available for mainstream just yet, but it also means that it’ll be ready in a fairly short period of time.
As we had already pointed out, the idea behind Android Go is quite simple. It’s an OS that is targeting developing markets that are characterized by low-power smartphones with as little as 512MB RAM and 4GB storage. The first edition is based on Android Oreo, which means these markets will be getting a version of Oreo that is designed to offer better performance on devices with low-end specs.
By comparison, most high-end phones come packed with at least 4GB RAM, but we have the likes of OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T that pack as much as 8GB RAM. With this in mind, it’s not such an easy thing to make the same version of the OS to perform similarly on both high-end and low-end devices. But with the new Android Oreo Go edition, Google says it has finally overcome this challenge.
Since Google announced its imminent plans to unveil Android Go, we have seen a number of apps tailored for this OS. Files Go is one of the best we’ve seen so far, but with the OS on board, OEMs will be able to set the phone to use “Go” versions of other apps as well. While some Go apps have special features that are aimed at minimizing data use, others are simply small in size and thus use less resources. In the end, the slimmer OS accompanied by smaller apps may consume half the storage space and even much less resources than what the usual OS and apps would have consumed on a new phone.
While Google wants us to believe that Android Go’s optimizations are meant to improve performance and storage, this might not be a constant. When an app is optimized so that it takes up less storage space, it can also affect the overall performance, including the startup time, with some apps taking longer to launch. This is what actually happened occasionally while I trialed the Twitter Lite edition. As expected, the new Android Oreo Go edition also packs a bunch of data-saving features, including the recently launched Datally app, right from the box.
Make no mistake. Android Go is not the same as Android One. Even though both have the same target in mind, they come from totally different backgrounds. While Android One involves partnerships between Google and third-party OEMs, where OEMs handle the hardware aspect and Google takes care of software, Android Go is a full Android release that is available for all OEMs via the AOSP, just like the standard Android OS.
At the moment, most of what makes Android Go is actually Google’s Go edition apps. However, we also expect other developers to follow suit and come in with apps geared towards this OS. As noted earlier, we already have several Lite editions of popular apps, including Facebook, Messenger and so on.
While we don’t have details of when to expect the first Android Oreo Go edition phone, the fact that the OS is ready for developers and manufacturers suggests that it won’t be long.