At Google I/O today, we were treated to Android Go, Google’s new efforts to make Android the perfect operating system for phones that don’t cost hundreds of dollars.
If you consider Android One the hardware side of the equation, then Android Go is how they seal the deal through software. The company will ship Android in this special “configuration” mainly for devices with 1GB of RAM or less, which is precisely the category these low-cost Android phones tend to fall into.
There’s a three-pronged approach here:
- OS: the Android system itself is going to get faster through extensive changes to things like the runtime.
- Reworked Google Apps: Google is putting it on themselves to introduce new versions of their apps that are designed to use less data. This began with the soft launch of YouTube Go as well as the data saver feature in Chrome.
- Encouraging Developer Participation: Google’s apps aren’t all we have on Google Play, of course, so Google is trying to get developers to make similar efforts by launching a new Android Go section in Google Play that highlights the best apps built for these devices.
For an app to be Go-ready, Google is mandating that they have a useful offline mode, an APK size of 10MB or less, and make appropriate tweaks for battery usage and memory performance to ensure your app isn’t being too aggressive.
With Google hoping to go from the 2 billion Android users milestone they just reached to another billion at some point down the yellow brick road, these changes are important for those in developing markets who don’t have hundreds to spend just to keep up with their Facebook friends on the go. Go, Android!