Google always has a good number of new announcements under its roof every year, which all gets announced at the Google I/O event that the company holds especially for the developers of Android OS. One of the major announcements made at the Google I/O 2017 event was not about Android O but about the new lighter platform – Android Go!
The term “Go” is not used for the first time by the company. If you remember, YouTube Go was released by Google for the markets where data availability is not great and it defined what Google intends to do – reach the next set of potential new smartphone users who are getting online for the first time. A similar plan is with Android Go – A platform, for the entry level phones. For the developing markets where Google sees a lot of potential new users of Android smartphones.
While the stock Android interface is not heavy, it still requires enough resources and that would instead increase the cost of the device because of the hardware included. To make some Android smartphones still affordable yet uncompromising at the performance level.
With Android Go, Google is building an experience that will be smooth for devices that have 1GB or lesser amount of RAM. A brief about what is included in Android Go, according to Google:
- OS: We’re optimizing Android O to run smoothly and efficiently on entry-level devices
- Apps: We’re also designing Google apps to use less memory, storage space, and mobile data, including apps such as YouTube Go, Chrome, and Gboard.
- Play: On entry-level devices, Play store will promote a better user experience by highlighting apps that are specifically designed for these devices — such as apps that use less memory, storage space, and mobile data — while still giving users access to the entire app catalog.
Affordability, Limited Connectivity, and Multilingual capability
These three are the important factors for the company to plan things around and come up with Android Go. Optimizing the interface for a better experience, offering apps that don’t take up a lot of memory usage, and giving app suggestions to the users – these will be the inclusions in the plan.
An example of how Google is planning to offer users with data-saving and lighter experience, you can check YouTube Go. The app offers a preview of the video before you decide to open it, and even before you open or download the video, it will let you choose the quality so that you don’t have to use a lot of data. For those countries where data costs are high, the users can have the videos downloaded when connected to Wi-Fi and then watch the videos anytime later. Furthermore, the sharing of downloaded videos can be done without the need of data connectivity. That’s how the optimization of apps will be done.
Play Store will change the usage a lot
Whatever the platform is, the store that offers app downloads is going to entirely decide how the usage is going to be. The apps suggested to the users are going to define the list of apps the smartphone is going to have. When Android Go is going to be only on smartphones with 1GB or lesser amount of RAM, the device has to have apps that don’t take up a lot of memory.
Google is pushing developers to have lighter versions of their apps that would be suggested in the Play Store of Android Go platform. These apps will be specifically designed to be lighter and have a smaller app size, have offline usage features, minimize the battery usage, and have lesser memory usage.
This is all a part of the “Building for billions” initiative from Google where it is targeting the new set of users and under that initiative, the company is encouraging developers to make a version of the app that they can put on the recommendation list for the Android Go users.
Localization – Multiple local language support
One of the ongoing missions on Android has been about making it easy for people who don’t have English as their primary language. So far, it has been more than a subtle affair but now, it will just get stronger with Google Keyboard and the OS itself having support for several local languages.
The keyboard already supports 191 languages and there is continuous effort to add more to the list.
Working on Android Go updates
Google’s Project Treble is a new plan from the company that keeps the Android framework separate from the chipset-makers to keep the performance at top and the compatibility at its best. While this is promising, it is being brought to Android O. The separation of the framework from the custom OS makers will keep the software updates quick and on time. But at the same time, Google says that it doesn’t have to necessarily push updates to Android Go because it would be more on the older versions of Android and it would focus only on the performance and experience, irrespective of the version.
When is it coming? Who’s bringing Android Go first?
The Android Go experience will start in 2018 and it is not yet clear about who’s going to bring it first and whether Google will give it a shot on the hardware department as well, as the earlier partnerships with companies to bring Android One didn’t fare as expected. Next year, we’d be seeing the Android Go devices.