Few days back Google launched YouTube Go app, lightweight version of YouTube that is optimized to run on low end phones and one that consumes lesser data. Turns out it was a part of larger and grander plan that is Android Go.
What is Android Go?
Google announced that Android is currently running on 2 billion devices. And there are also tons of Android users in markets like India where most people end up buying low to mid end budget phones.
Android Go is a set of smartphones, aimed to help and enhance Android user experience on low-end phones. That’s quite thoughtful, isn’t it?
Well Google is addressing this plan on three fronts.
First, the OS itself where streamlining the use of few resources and adding things like data management to quick settings are planned. Putting option for it up front and center. Working with the providers to add a data pack top up option right from settings.
Secondly, with apps like YouTube Go to help people conserve data. Google Chrome is another app that would come with data saver enabled on these devices. Also, G-Board additional language support should help with Android Go option.
Third and last, with the Google Play Store, phones running Android Go will have access to all the same apps as phones running regular Android.
The difference here is that Google will be featuring apps that are optimized for Android Go right on the front page. Basically, apps that will offer better offline usage with APK files smaller than 10 MB.
So, which phones are we talking about?
When we talk about low and mid-end budget phones, our mind jumps onto Mi’s or Lenovo’s but that’s not what Android Go is aiming for.
The brands that sell online a lot, have at least 2GB RAM on their phones. Even Redmi 4 has a 4GB RAM.
Android Go on the other hand plans to address phones with 512MB to 1GB of RAM. These phones will get a Go variant by Android, by default. Google states feature releases of Android will come with a Go variant too.
Android Go seems to be a great initiative from Google. It is considered as a spiritual success after Google One program. But, given that Android Go is not out yet and usually it takes months after the official release for brands to come up with phones running on the latest variant of Android Go. And it takes even longer for low end phone makers to come up with latest version of Androids.
According to reports, we can expect Android Go phones to be released by mid-2018. But, as we talked earlier about budget phones these days with 2 and 3 GB of RAM. With technology moving forward rapidly we really hope brands don’t release phones with 1GB of RAM or less.
On the Other Hand – Android One
Android One was launched in the year 2014 that is also a set of phones with limitations of hardware and software. With Android One, Google came out with three manifestos.
First, is the Hardware itself. Even entry level smartphones still remain out of reach for many.
Second, Software. Many countries like Indonesia and Philippines do not have access to Android updates.
And finally, Connectivity. Even where 3G and 4G networks are available, not enough people have smartphones that can support data and even when they can, those data plans are expensive.
So, how did Android plan on tackling these challenges?
By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share their reference designs and select components. Android is trying to make it easier for partners to build phones not just great to use but also affordable. They have high quality front facing and rear facing cameras. They are also trying to add features that will be especially significant for people in countries like India where dual sim cards, replaceable batteries and built-in FM radio are used.
Now the question that many of you will have is how fast can I get my Android updates?
Well according to Google, to help and ensure a consistent experience, Android One device will receive the latest versions of Android directly from Google. So, you get the latest features up to date, secure patches, and peace of mind knowing that all your data is always backed up. It also means Android One devices will be one of the first to receive the Android updates.
All in all, Google is trying various things to get to people. So that they come to know about much larger world than they think. By providing low-end smartphones and proper connectivity it would be possible by everyone to connect to the rest of the world.
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