Android Go is not a new version of Android.
It is Android O, with optimised presets for better performance.
There are no restrictions on Android Go in terms of apps.
The current specs race and the bid to have computing power in our smartphones that is vastly superior to that in most of computers has proven to be a necessity when it comes to Android smartphones. For flagship devices, this is not a major problem as the large cost of the device means OEMs can afford to add expensive components, but what about for the super low-cost devices?
For these devices – i.e. the ones that cost $100 or less – there’s been several initiatives by Google to make Android smartphones accessible to billions of people who have limited resources. At a follow up session on Android Go, Arpit Medha – the product manager for Android Go – revealed that Android Go is the company’s latest attempt to make Android smartphones accessible for all.
One of the first questions asked was is Android Go a replacement for Android One? Arpit’s answer was that Android Go is not a replacement for Android One in its current form but rather, Android One is focused on the mid-range market while Android Go is for the entry-level market.
What will be the Android version that Go devices will ship with?
“We call it Android Go – it’s an internal name – but the OS that these partners will be shipping will be Android O – there’s no separate OS called Android Go.
So what will be different about Android Go devices?
Think of Android Go as a bunch of presets that your Android O device will ship with. Some OS settings will be switched on (or off) by default; some Google apps will be a bit different than other Android O devices; and the Google Play Store will highlight third-party apps optimised for the Go experience – that’s about it. “The way this works is that Android has a configuration when you build a device in factory and we are effectively putting a Go configuration in place, which is very similar to what do with Svelte so if the device is low-RAM, for example, when the device is built in the factory, it’s configured, right,“It’s not something the user decides, it’s something that the OEM decides at the factory and what we are saying is if you are gonna build a device that’s 1GB or less [RAM] then you should build it with the Go OS configuration, so you should use Android O, but you should use these configuration settings.” When asked to detail some of these changes, “when in Svelte, as far back as KitKat, there’s a number of things that the device will do to optimise the UI, so when it detects that it’s low RAM device, there’s a number of animations that are turned off, a number of things that are memory-intensive like that in the UI that are nice, but if they are done wrong – because they are memory-intensive – they can actually compromise the experience, as opposed to enhancing the experience, so those are some examples of optimisations.” “The other thing though is there are some feature that we are adding, so it’s not just about taking away but about adding features. We mentioned yesterday in the keynote that data management is very important to users that are coming online today. So data management will go in Quick Settings as another example of the UI change. So there are some things that are added and some things that are modified.”
Can ‘regular’ Android devices run apps optimised for Android Go?
Absolutely. While these apps are optimised for entry-level Android Go devices, there’s nothing stopping your Google Pixel XL or Samsung Galaxy S8, for example, from downloading and running, say, the YouTube Go app. These apps will also show up like any other app when you search for something via the Play Store on your device.
Will I see Android Go update on my existing device?
Almost certainly no. The focus of the Android Go project is on new devices only, so don’t expect your existing entry-level phone to get Android O’s Go configuration.
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