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Google to launch first $50 Android Go phones next week

Android Oreo (Go Edition) was announced late last year as a new lightweight Android version optimised for low-end smartphones. It consumes less storage, has fewer hardware requirements and prioritises device performance. The aim is to provide a usable Android experience on low-end devices, making smartphones more accessible.
In a blog post today, Google said the first of these phones will be shown off during next week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) trade fair. Despite having already announced the platform, Google’s not previously demonstrated any phones that use it. The company said initial devices will launch “soon after” MWC, with pricing on entry-level models starting below $50.
None of these phones will be setting any benchmarks or sporting high-end features. Android Go is designed for phones with less than 1GB of RAM and basic processors. The platform’s real value is in improving the accessibility of smartphones. By removing Android’s bloat and ensuring a snappy experience, Google hopes that more people will be able to access a high-quality smartphone at an affordable cost.
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“We’re inspired by the success of Android across a wide range of devices, including entry-level phones which in many cases are the first and only way people get access to the internet,” said Google. “These devices need to be affordable, and the experience needs to be great. We don’t just want to provide people with access – we also want to provide a useful, high-quality experience.”
With these aims in mind, Android Go comes with a set of optimisations to reduce the operating system’s footprint. New versions of Google apps such as Assistant, YouTube and Maps have been specially developed to consume less memory and storage. Google’s focused on the essential elements of each experience, stripping out anything extraneous in the pursuit of improving performance.
According to Google, there’s now over 2 billion active Android devices built by over 1,300 brands. In total, buyers have 24,000 unique products to choose from. Despite this diversity of handsets, the Android ecosystem still lacks attractive options for first-time buyers around the world. Google’s addressing this with Android Go, making the platform into a strategy for bringing the next billion web users online.
Google’s also planning to unveil new Android One devices next week. This platform has similar principles to Android Go, focusing on a clean and unimpeded user interface. Android One is based around a “stock” Android image and includes its own set of standards. Device manufacturers must issue the latest Android updates and security patches, ensuring their products remain secured.

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