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article imageGoogle launches lightweight Android OS for entry-level phones

By James Walker     Dec 5, 2017 in Technology
Google's launched a new lightweight Android version which offers a pared-back operating system and smaller apps for entry-level phones. It's designed to make low-end devices more usable by ensuring smooth performance, helping bring more people online.
The project was announced back at Google I/O in May as Android Go. Since then, it's been tweaked in the run-up to release. It's launching today as Android Oreo (Go Edition), a name less-catchy than the original but more indicative of the operating system's actual functionality. Go has most of the same features as the regular Android Oreo, scaled-down to run well on any hardware.
15% faster
Google's targeting phones with under 1GB of memory as prime candidates to run Go Edition. It has made optimisations across Android to improve the responsiveness and memory usage of the OS. According to the company, it all adds up to a 15 percent performance improvement for average apps running on Oreo (Go Edition). Storage use is also reduced with built-in Google apps up to 50 percent smaller than the ones included on regular Oreo handsets.
Android 8.0 Oreo (Go Edition)
Android 8.0 Oreo (Go Edition)
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The set of optimised apps all carry the "Go" suffix with their names. They include Gmail Go, YouTube Go and Google Assistant Go, as well as specially redesigned versions of Chrome and the Google Play Store. In each case, the emphasis is on streamlined functionality, responsive performance and efficient use of data and storage space.
The Play Store can be used to download any regular Android app, ensuring Go Edition phones don’t restrict what the user can do. If you like, you can replace the scaled-down stock apps with their fully-featured originals, consuming more storage space but adding additional functionality. By default, the Store features apps which are optimised for low-end hardware, including the "Lite" versions of social media platforms.
Fully-functioning phones
Google said Oreo Go Edition will let all smartphone users access a complete experience, even if they have a less capable handset. The OS is part of the Google for India scheme to make Android more usable for Indian consumers. The company said that more people use Android in India than in the U.S., despite frequently having to endure sluggish hardware.
"Since Android’s creation, our mission has been to bring the power of computing to everyone. As a global operating system, Android has grown to more than 2 billion active devices around the world, with more users in India than the U.S," said Google. "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."
Despite being aimed at Indian users, Google's not going to limit Oreo (Go Edition) to select regions. You'll be able to use it globally from tomorrow with compatible devices shipping from manufacturers next year. Google called for new partners to build Go-powered devices to connect the "next billion" users.
More about Google, Android, android oreo, Smartphones, Mobile
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