Google finally launches Android Go, a lighter OS for budget phones

Mediatek optimizes its processors to work with Google's new Android Go

Android Go
Remember Android Go? In May, Google announced it would be making a scaled-down version of Android to run on entry-level devices with between 1GB and 512MB of RAM. These sorts of low-powered devices have proven key in getting smartphones into developing markets like India and Brazil, and Google was keen to offer a smooth and full-featured experience on those devices. At a Google For India 2017 press conference, the company said it’s finally launching Android Go alongside the updated version of Android Oreo, Android 8.1 Oreo.

Essentially a pared-down version of Android, Android Go focuses on a few specific areas that allows it to run smoothly on low-powered, entry-level smartphones. First off is the massive decrease in operating system (OS) size. As Android has matured and phones’ storage spaces have increased, the amount of space the operating system eats up has grown. Since entry-level phones are less likely to have room to spare, the less space the OS takes, the more people have left for their pictures and videos. Android Go is roughly half the size of Android 7.0 Nougat, saving a good deal of space for media the user really wants.

android go data saving

Google’s companion apps have also been downsized. Each Android Go phone will come with “Go” versions of the usual pre-installed Google apps; Google Maps, YouTube, Google Assistant, and Gmail all have “Go” versions that take up less space, require fewer resources to run, and run faster than their usual versions. The company said most “Go” apps run an average of 15 percent faster than the normal versions.

Google and MediaTek have also announced that they have been working closely to ensure that Android Go is optimized to work perfectly with Mediatek processors, which provide the brains for a large amount of lower-end phones on the marketplace, including models from Oppo, Sony, Xiaomi, and even Samsung. The announcement confirms that the MediaTek’s MT6739, MT6737, and MT6580 processors, among others, are already configured with support packages for Android Go, and this should ensure that users of lower-end Mediatek-powered devices should get the smoothest experience possible on Android Go.

Also included in Android Go is Google’s Data Saver mode from its Chrome browser. Mobile data can cost quite a pretty penny in developing markets, and a megabyte saved is a megabyte earned. This is why Google worked hard to reduce the amount of data used by Android Go, because this mode is turned on by default. The company estimates that Chrome’s Data Saver can save the average user 600MB of data in a year, so it expects this system-wide feature to help even more. You can also share content with other people via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, helping you save even more data.

A new app called Files Go, which is available on the Play Store for all Android phones, also will help clean up space on your phone.

In Android Go, the Google Play Store offers a streamlined experience, showcasing Go-optimized apps that won’t impact storage space or run slowly, and phones are also protected with Google’s Play Protect, which is now a standard security feature in all Android Oreo devices.

Android Go is now available for manufacturers, alongside the new version of Android 8.1 Oreo, and it will be shipped on various entry-level devices within the coming months.


Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Movies & TV

HBO Go vs. HBO Now: Which streaming service is right for you?

If you're looking to get access to HBO, you might be comparing HBO Go and HBO Now. We break down the differences between the twin streaming services and see how they compare to one another.

Android 9.0 updates to stretch into 2019 — will your phone get a slice of Pie?

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

Need to record calls on an iPhone? Check out our handy guide

Are you wondering how to record calls on your iPhone? It isn't as easy as you might think, but we'll walk you through the process of doing so with Google Voice, and identify several other apps and external voice recorders that can help.
Home Theater

Set your ears free with the best completely wireless earbuds

If you can't stand the tangle of cords, or you're just excited about completely wireless earbuds, you're going to need some help separating the wheat from the chaff. Our list serves up the best true wireless earbuds around.

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.