After initially unveiling it back at I/O 2017, Google today officially launched Android Go based on Oreo 8.1. The operating system is targeted at lower-end devices as an option OEMs can opt for to achieve a cleaner, smoother, and faster experience on their cheaper hardware. Budget phones around the $100 price point should especially benefit from this edition of Android.
What makes Android Go different over standard Android is in its efficiency. Whereas Android typically requires at least 2GB of RAM to provide a usable experience, Android Go only requires 512MB or 1GB of RAM to run smoothly. Additionally, all of Google’s pre-installed apps have received Go versions for better efficiency. These include Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and a new Files Go app that lets you share different file types with users over the air.
Android Go is also easier on your storage. The chart below gives you an idea of just how little storage this version of Android takes up on a low-end device over standard Android and just how small Google’s various Go apps really are.
Google also notes Android Go users will be first in line for security updates and software upgrades. The Play Store is also optimized to display apps that run more efficiently than others, although you’ll also be able to install any of the various apps on the Store like you would on any other Android device.
While no official word was given by Google, I would expect the first Android Go devices to begin shipping some time next year. We’ll let you know when that happens.