Google celebrated the milestone of two billion active Android devices across the world by announcing Android Go, a new platform that will help the tech giant to launch cheap smartphones for developing markets.
According to the company’s blog post, Android Go will be a lightweight version of the upcoming Android O and will take up lesser storage space and provide better battery life in lower-end smartphones.
In developing countries like India, a large part of the population now possesses smartphones. However, the lower to middle-income groups usually buy cheaper models and subscribe to limited data packages. As a result, problems like slow Internet and limited storage space make it difficult for these users to access and use many of the apps and services that are offered by the Google Play Store.
To overcome these limitations, Android Go will come bundled in all smartphones with a RAM of 1 GB and less. On such decices, all apps on the Play Store will also be optimsed to use less space and memory.
An example of the optimsed version of an Android app is Youtube Go. Besides a ‘preview’ feature which allows users to see frames of a video, it lets the user to select the quality of the video before running it, or dowload it for offline viewing later when near a Wi-Fi connection. The whole idea with these features is to keep data usage on low-end devices to a minimum.
Youtube Go also allows you to share videos with other devices supporting Android Go using its ‘peer-to-peer transfer’ option.
Incidentally, all these features on YouTube Go were initially available to only paid Youtube Red subscribers.
Android Go isn’t much different from Android One that Google had launched three years ago. It had launched Android One with the same intention of launching cheap Android smartphone devices, but didn’t see much success.
Leading tech companies like Google and Apple have come to realise India’s potential as a market. As a result, these tech giants have been trying to come up with products and services aimed at the large active consumer base of the country. Even their CEOs, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook have made the occasional visits to the country with the aim to deepen their companies’ engagement with the country.
Google has not officially announced the name of any third-party device maker that would launch smartphones tailor-made for the Android Go platform, neither indicated that it will launch its own hardware devices with Android Go. However, it has said that it will the launch the platform in the coming year.