Android Go changed into announced at some stage in the opening keynote of the Google I/O developers convention in Mountain View on Wednesday. Since the assertion, there was a whole lot of confusion regarding the mission – is it a new edition of Android? Can Android Go devices run all Android apps or best the apps that have been optimized for the Go revel in? How will this affect OS updates for customers, and what’s going to developers need to do differently to optimize their apps for Android Go?
Unfortunately, within the instantaneous aftermath of the keynote, Google didn’t provide answers to a number of those questions, and there aren’t loads of records associated with Android Go up on Google’s websites either. Thankfully, to answer a lot of these queries – and a whole lot more – we controlled to get a while with Sameer Samat, the person who delivered Android Go on a level on Wednesday, and the VP of Product Management for Android and Google Play. Here’s a FAQ on Android Go primarily based on the answers Gadgets 360 got from Sam and different Google executives here in Mountain View.
Is Android Go a new version of Android?
Sam couldn’t be clearer on this: “Android Go isn’t a new version of Android, it’s no longer a different Android, it’s a task call internal Google.”
What might be the Android model that Go devices will ship with?
“We name it Android Go – it’s an internal call – however the OS that those companions will be delivery might be Android O – there’s no separate OS referred to as Android Go,” Sam explains, just to drive domestic the point.
So what’s going to be exceptional approximately Android Go gadgets?
Think of Android Go as a gaggle of presets that your Android O device will ship with. Some OS settings will be switched on (or off) by way of default; some Google apps can be a chunk exclusive than different Android O devices, and the Google Play Store will highlight third-party apps optimized for the Go experience – that’s about it.
“The manner this works is that Android has a configuration while you build a tool in manufacturing facility and we’re effectively setting a Go configuration in place, which may be very much like what do with Svelte so if the device is low-RAM, for instance, when the device is built within the manufacturing facility, it’s configured, proper,” Sam explains. “It’s no longer something the consumer makes a decision, it’s something that the OEM decides on the manufacturing facility and what we’re pronouncing is if you are gonna construct a device that’s 1GB or much less [RAM] you then ought to construct it with the Go OS configuration, so you need to use Android O, however you must use these configuration settings.”
When asked to detail a number of those adjustments, Sam says, “[..] whilst in Svelte, as a long way returned as KitKat, there’s a variety of-of things that the tool will do to optimise the UI, so whilst it detects that it is low RAM tool, there are some of the animations which are turned off, quite a number of things which can be memory-extensive like that within the UI which might be quality, but if they may be performed wrong – because they’re memory-intensive – they are able to really compromise the enjoy, rather than enhancing the revel in, so those are a few examples of optimisations.”
“The other factor although is there is some function that we are adding, so it’s now not just about removing but approximately including functions. We referred to yesterday in the keynote that information management may be very essential to users which might be coming online nowadays. So data control will pass in Quick Settings as every other instance of the UI trade. So there are some things which can be brought and a few matters which are changed.”
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The three cornerstones of Android Go
Sam touched upon these factors in his keynote on Wednesday, and he reiterates that Android Go “stands for 3 matters – first, is persevering with to optimize the Android running gadget to run easily on access-degree devices, starting with Android O.”
“Second, is making sure that Google apps that we load on these devices are also optimized, because of this that we are rebuilding most of the Google apps. I showed inside the keynote yesterday – YouTube Go, that is a brand new app completely, that is a whole lot smaller in APK length, it makes use of much less information, and gives users much greater control over facts and the way they use it, which may be very critical”
“And then subsequently, it’s not simply the Google apps, however also we have many builders that make apps, so we’re optimizing the Play Store to spotlight the apps which are tuned to the wishes of users which might be coming online for the first time.”
Will Android Go device handiest be able to run apps optimized for the Go revel in? Will the Google Play Store on Android Go gadgets best function these apps?
All Android apps that run on any ‘everyday’ Android O device may even run on Android Go devices, barring of path any apps that might not be well suited together with your hardware or now not to be had to your place, something that’s the case even nowadays with Android N (or in advance).
“The Play Store on Go gadgets will comprise the complete app catalog – no regulations unless the developer has a limit, however, the developer can do that nowadays besides, however, no regulations from Google at the apps,” Samat told Gadgets 360.
In different words, the Google Play Store on Android Go devices will include all Android apps, no longer just apps optimized for Android Go gadgets. The latter will, however, be highlighted by means of Google prominently inside the Play Store on Go devices, which may make it really worth the builders’ time to optimize their apps if they want to goal this audience.
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What about Google apps that ship by default on Android Go gadgets?
In some instances, Google is developing an entirely new app optimized for Android Go gadgets. As demoed at some stage in the keynote, YouTube is one such instance, and the YouTube Go app is now available thru the Play Store for all devices (not just Android Go telephones, see subsequent question) to download and try out. This is the app with the intention to ship by using default on Android Go devices, instead of the ‘foremost’ YouTube app.
Certain different apps, like Google Chrome, will just have an extraordinary configuration – but are nevertheless inherently the identical app – and, certainly, different apps may be identical to their Android O opposite numbers in all approaches. For apps like Chrome, the settings will no longer be locked to the defaults, and users may be free to trade the behavior to be extra like on Android O.
“For example, Chrome has a feature known as Data Saver, in order to grow to become on by using a default. Users can turn it off if they want, but it will be on by using a default,” says Samat. “On the alternative hand YouTube [for Go devices] is a brand new app, and YouTube Go has the features that the primary YouTube app would not have. For instance displaying you a number of statistics each video will take while you play. So a few apps will be absolutely new and some apps could be loaded with a one-of-a-kind configuration.”
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Can Android Go devices deploy the ‘regular’ versions of their default apps?
In a word – sure.
In multiple phrases – Searching for YouTube on Google Play Store on Android Go gadgets will display the ‘everyday’ YouTube app as well, and users may be free to put in this app on their phone. How many customers will truly do something like this when they have already got a YouTube app on their phone is arguably, and maximum Go users – meant first-time cellphone owners – are probably to undergo the life of the device without discovering the ‘main’ app.
Now within the case of YouTube, specifically, the Go app looks pretty beneficial with features that the principle app itself doesn’t have. But this loss of discoverability of the main app – to reiterate, why will a normal user look for YouTube in Play Store while the phone already has YouTube (Go) established – would possibly prove to be a problem within the destiny if, say, it receives a fab new function before the Go app. Now simply to be clean, there aren’t any signs and symptoms from Google that this may appear in the destiny, but with two special apps, it’s now not totally inconceivable.
Can ‘normal’ Android devices run apps optimized for Android Go?
Absolutely. While those apps are optimized for entry-stage Android Go devices, there’s nothing preventing your Google Pixel XL or Samsung Galaxy S8, as an example, from downloading and going for walks, say, the YouTube Go app. These apps will also show up like any other app whilst you search for something via the Play Store to your device.
How does Android Go vary from Android One?
Let’s hear it from the person himself.
“Android One turned into a particular task that targeted on three matters – first, specifying hardware [..] and we labored with manufacturers to try this,” says Sam. “The 2d turned into any device that has the Android One brand would have the Google UI, unmodified by means of the companion. And the 1/3 piece changed into a commitment from the device manufacturer to have ordinary protection updates.”
“What we located through the years is that a number of the Android One proposition resonated with customers. For example, there are a hard and fast of customers who need the Google UI, and there were a set of users who wanted ordinary security updates, however, that wasn’t just on the access-level [as originally intended by the Android One program]. That turned into on the access degree, the mid-tier, and the high-five up.”
“So Android One as a program has advanced. We advocate hardware, however, we do not require certain hardware from OEMs, and we don’t cognizance on simply the access degree anymore both. For instance, in Turkey we work with General Mobile, and that they have a $two hundred-$250 tool. In Japan, Sharp and Kyocera, they have gadgets from $four hundred to $500. But they make a dedication to using the Google UI, and they make a dedication to doing ordinary updates. So the Android One program has advanced, and we’re quite glad about how that’s evolving.”
“And Android Go, once more, is not a new version of Android, it’s an undertaking name, and it’s focussed on the 3 matters I referred to before – optimising Android O, optimising the Google apps, and highlighting apps from the third-birthday celebration surroundings within the Play Store, and that’s how they [Android Go and Android One] are a little bit exceptional.”
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Will we see Android Go reference hardware?
No such plans in the intervening time. Sam says Google thinks that “innovation coming from numerous the hardware companions in exceptional markets and globally could be very strong right now in the entry-stage [segment]”, and Google’s position may be constrained to supporting the software aspect of things, in terms of making sure the OS is optimised so that OEMs “can use additives that make feel”. He brought that Google can be operating “very intently” with companions that are inquisitive about the Android Go configuration to make certain that “these gadgets carry out nicely”.
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When will the primary Android Go gadgets ship? And at what fee factors?
As announced at the keynote, the first Android Go devices are expected to hit the marketplace in 2018.
In terms of price, Sam received decide to a range of, pronouncing that the goal of the Android Go assignment is “not to set a price point”. The concept, he explains, is to “permit manufacturers who are constructing access-degree gadgets to deliver their price points as a long way down as they are able to” without compromising the overall experience.
Why the 1GB RAM restriction for Android Go gadgets?
With many access-stage gadgets just like the Rs. 6,999 (about $108) Xiaomi Redmi four shipping with 2GB of RAM, some might surprise why Google wants to optimize the revel in for gadgets that won’t constitute a majority of phone shipments, especially by the point the first Android Go phone ships in 2018. We asked Sam to weigh in on the challenge.
“I assume that the information that we are seeing from enterprise analysts and what our manufacturing partners inform us is that there are many, many gadgets transport – thousands and thousands of devices shipping – every year with 1GB [RAM] and under,” he says.
As in keeping with Counterpoint’s Market Monitor records, smartphones with 1GB or less RAM accounted for multiple fourth of the total cellphone shipments at some stage in Q1 2017 in India.
“It is a pointy decline in comparison to closing yr, whilst contribution of the same segment become extra than half of the overall phone shipments,” Pavel Naiya, Senior Analyst, Devices and Analytics at Counterpoint tells Gadgets 360.
“Even though marketplace length of this phase (smartphones with 1GB or less RAM) has declined, there may be enough pie left for Google to cope with with Android Go,” he adds. “One great marketplace is new access-degree phone users. As a majority of the mobile phone customers in India are nonetheless using feature telephones and will finally improve to access-level smartphones.”
Sam believes this variety could pass even higher with Android Go.
“I assume in a few ways, tool producers are transferring to add an increasing number of reminiscence due to the fact they need to make sure there’s an excellent revel in, and what we’re pronouncing is that adds value also,” he says. “So if we are able to make an experience that’s correct with less RAM, then we agree with humans will wanna offer less steeply-priced phones nevertheless with an awesome enjoy and you may see extra of those phones deliver.”
Will Android Go make Android’s fragmentation hassle worse – from a developer’s attitude? What approximately OEMs?
Sam says Android Go is API identical to the ‘main’ Android O, so builders want now not worry approximately fragmentation. For the OEMs, he believes they deal with sufficient vintage versions of Android that working with a single, specific configuration of a brand new Android model will actually be a comfort.
“Most OEMs nowadays control many distinct branches due to the fact their entry-degree gadgets are almost by no means delivery at the ultra-modern release of Android,” Samat says. “At least now, we want greater of them to be transported on the contemporary release of Android – there may be some build configurations within the manufacturing facility that are unique between the two [Android O and Android Go]. What we’ve heard from the producers is that’s lots easier for them to keep than a couple of one-of-a-kind variations of Android.”