Google Android Oreo Go Edition Launches for Budget Phones

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Google promised a version of Android Oreo’s custom designed OS for low-end devices back in May this year. Today, it has made the OS available for device manufacturers and developers finally. That doesn’t mean it’s available to users yet—but presumably that’ll happen in fairly short order.

The Android Go is designed to run better on phones with either 512MB or 1GB of RAM. By comparison, the Pixel 2 (like most flagships) has 4GB of RAM, while the iPhone X has 3GB and the Galaxy Note 8 has a whopping 6GB.

We understand that its challenging to design the same operating system to work on both flagship and budget devices, but we think Google has figured it out to overcome the obstacle. The Go edition is not meant to be a “fork” of Android Oreo so much as a variant that a manufacturer can just set by ticking off a configuration flag.

Google made the announcement at an event in India — a major potential market for the new version of the OS. As the company notes in a recent blog post, there are currently more Android users in India than the U.S., making it a huge market, along with other developing countries. A number of companies like Mozilla and Nokia have also worked to address a rapidly expanding audience in these areas, but none are better positioned than Google.

According to Google, the Android Go OS comes with all sorts of benefits for the end users, including 30 percent faster startup time and an optimization of storage space, by up to 2x. The latter is accomplished, in part, by the inclusion of a number of optimized Go apps. It’s a pretty long list, including Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Chrome and Files Go, a new file management app. There’s also a Go version of the Play store, which specializes in lightweight apps.

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