Google’s Android Go is a new Android variant that plugs the entry-level hardware gap

Android Go is a new version of Android that is meant to run on super low-end, incredibly cheap hardware. Think the Android One initiative, but on software only, as applied to really cheap devices. We’re talking optimized at an OS and app level for sub 1GB, near-disposable phones. This should help Google bring Android to more people in more places.

In some markets, device manufacturers have already been tossing Android on super cheap hardware, and the results haven’t been great. This is an attempt to significantly improve that experience by having a version of Android for just such hardware. Android Go will feature performance optimizations at the OS level for non-performant hardware, a tweaked version of Chrome with data-saver turned on by default, and some extra data management tools, as well as existing apps like YouTube Go.

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A bunch of apps ideal for Android Go devices will also be highlighted in the Play store, and Google will also have some tools and talks later on how to build apps to better work for Android Go and that market. The first devices to see Go won’t be shipping until 2018, so don’t get your hopes up quite yet. All future versions of Android will have a Go version, so this should be here to stay. No matter how you see it, the low-end looks like it’s about to get a whole lot more competitive.

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