Google detailed its Android Go platform back at I/O 2017, and the company is now officially launching the lightweight OS at the Google for India event. Dubbed Android Oreo (Go edition), the OS is targeted at entry-level devices with 512MB to 1GB of RAM. Google is also rolling out lightweight versions of its apps — Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Assistant, and the like — that are optimized to run on the platform.
With most Android Go devices set to offer 8GB of storage, Google is ensuring that customers have enough storage for their own content by bundling fewer pre-installed apps. The company is claiming that Android Go devices will offer 2x the amount of available storage on devices with 8GB of internal memory when compared to a regular build of Oreo.
Android Go devices will have just nine apps pre-installed: Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and the new Files Go app.
Google is also optimizing app load times, with Android Go devices set to load apps 15% faster. Chrome's Data Saver feature is built into Android Go, and is enabled by default. When it comes to security, all Android Go devices will get Google Play Protect built-in, and Google has also optimized the Play Store to highlight apps that will work well on the platform.
Android Oreo (Go edition) is now available for manufacturers, and we should see the first batch of devices running the platform in the coming months. Android Go is designed to cater to the entry-level segment in countries like India. With just 450 million of India's 1.32 billion population currently online, there's a lot of potential to target hundreds of millions of new customers.
Then there's the fact that phones sold in this segment tend to feature vastly outdated versions of Android with no software updates. Google is looking to change all that with Android Go, and provide a decent user experience for first-time smartphone buyers.
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the Android Central team.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.