Back at Google I/O in May, Google revealed a new configuration of Android it called “Android Go.” Essentially, Android Go was billed as a new version of Android that has been optimized to play nice with entry-level devices, which tend to have tiny amounts of RAM and storage. Today Google is officially launching Android Go, though with a new name: Android Oreo (Go Edition).
When Android Go was first revealed, Google said that it would launch with Android Oreo. That launch came and went, with no sign of Android Go. As it turns out, Android Go is arriving a little late to the party, launching with Android 8.1 instead of Android 8.0.
In any case, Google says that there are three main components to Android Oreo (Go Edition). The first is, of course, the operating system. Thanks to enhancements focused on speed and reliability as they apply specifically to entry-level devices, Google says that an average app will now run 15% faster on Android Oreo (Go Edition).
Storage was also a major focus when it comes to the operating system. With all devices, the operating system and pre-installed apps can eat into onboard storage in a big way, and this is particularly troublesome on low-end devices that only have 8GB of storage or less. Apps that have been optimized for Android Oreo (Go Edition) – Google’s suite of apps, specifically – will take up 50% less space than they did before, giving users more available storage out of the box.
Furthermore, Android Oreo (Go Edition) has data saver turned on from the get-go. While this isn’t going to drastically reduce data usage in an immediately noticeable way, it’s enough to save Chrome users 600MB of data per year, which can certainly add up, especially when you consider that Go lets users easily manage which apps are allowed to run in the background.
Going hand-in-hand with the changes Google made to Android are the changes coming to its various apps. Google has developed Go-friendly versions of many of its apps, and those will be pre-installed on all Android Go devices. As previously stated, these apps have been created to have a smaller footprint when it comes to storage, but we also see enhancements to speed as well. The company points to its Google Go app as an example, claiming that it “optimizes data by up to 40 percent” and offers a new UI that makes finding relevant information faster.
Finally, we come to changes made to the Play Store. Those running Android Oreo (Go Edition) will be able to download any app they want from the Play Store, but upon booting it up, they’ll see a a special section for Go-compatible apps. This, in turn, allows users to select apps that have been optimized with Go’s enhancements in mind.
The market for entry-level smart devices is growing quickly all around the world, so we’re definitely going to see Android Go become more central to Google’s strategy as time goes on. Android Oreo (Go Edition) officially leaves the gate with tomorrow’s launch of Android 8.1, and it won’t be long before the first Android Go devices begin hitting shelves around the world.