Back at Google I/O earlier this year, Google said it was working on a lightweight version of Android that would be suitable for lower end smartphones. Now several months later, Google is introducing Android Oreo (Go Edition) as part of the Android 8.1 release that is due out tomorrow for developers and device makers. As the name implies, this is a lighter, more nimble version of Android based on the latest "Oreo" build.
Android Oreo Go is designed to run on entry-level Android devices with 512MB to 1GB of memory. These types of handsets have vastly inferior specs compared to flagships, such as Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, which boasts a generous 6GB of RAM. Higher end phones don't have any trouble running a full-fledged version of Android, whereas the many lower-end handsets that are out there can feel bogged down by the OS.
There are three primary components of Android Oreo Go. They consist of the following:
- Operating System: Performance and storage improvements to the OS with data management features and security benefits built-in.
- Google Apps: A new set of Google apps, designed to be lighter and relevant to the unique needs of people who are coming online for the first time.
- Google Play Store: A tuned version of the Google Play Store that allows you to download any app, but also highlights the apps designed to work best on your device.
Lower end devices also typically ship with far less storage than mid-range and flagship phones. To account for that, Google optimized and enhanced its preinstalled apps, which take up half the storage space on Android Oreo Go.
"The net result is that we've doubled the amount of storage on entry-level devices," Google says.
Android Oreo Go users will also find a new section in the Play Store that contains recommended popular apps that are tuned to run well on entry-level phones. These include entries such as Whatsapp and Facebook Lite, to name just a couple.
The release of Android Oreo Go does not mean it is available to consumers just yet. However, with developers and device makers gaining access to the nimble OS, handsets running Android Oreo Go should start shipping in the coming months.