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Google Introduces Android 8.1 Go Edition for Low End Smartphones

December 5th, 2017 13 comments

With Android 8.1 preview release, we already knew Google was working on optimizations for Android Go for devices with 512MB to 1GB memory, and a new Neural Networks API to accelerate on-device machine intelligence.

Android 8.1 will be released tomorrow, and Google has now officially introduced Android Oreo Go Edition that will be part of the release tomorrow.

Optimizations cover three main components

  • Operating System – Performance and storage improvements with data management features and security benefits built-in. The company now claims the operating system will take much less space, and actually double free space on a typical 8GB eMMC flash.
  • Google Apps – New set of Google apps designed to be lighter and relevant to people who are coming online for the first time. App size will be reduced by around 50% on Android Go.
  • Google Play Store – A tuned version of the Google Play Store that works with any apps, but also highlights the apps designed to work best on low-end devices.

Apps are said to be around 15% faster on average on low end devices running Android 8.1 Go Edition instead of Android 8.1.

Android Go also comes with Google’s data saver features turned on by default, and appears to include the same security as Android 8.1 including Google Play Protect. GMS apps have been optimized for Go, and will have “Go” appended to their name for example Google Go, YouTube Go, Gmail Go, Google Maps Go, and so on. The apps are smaller and faster to run on memory constrained devices, and consume less data. File Go is a new file management app which can help users clean up space and organize their files and folders, and I could install it on my Android 7.1 phone.

Android Oreo GO Edition will be launched tomorrow, but it’s unclear whether any current device will get the optimized OS at that time, and Google instead refers to partners that will soon ship the new release on their entry-level devices in the coming months. Visit Android Oreo Go Edition product page for more details.