First Android Go smartphone will be launched at the MWC 2018

Google has finally made the decision to launch the first Android Go smartphone at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 this weekend.

Whispers of Android Oreo (Go edition) has been making the rounds for a while with the promise of an operating system designed specifically for budget phones that don’t come equipped with extensive RAM or processing power. 

Google claims that the aim of Android Go is to make smartphones attainable in developing markets that have the largest populations of budget consumers.

It does this by stripping out all the bloated features of the traditional Android interface and focusing on the platform’s usability tailored to lower specification hardware.

 How does Android Go work? 

Android Go is meant for devices that operate on less than 1GB of RAM. This is in sharp contrast to the 4-6GB smartphone devices that are usually flagship models. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s senior VP (Platforms and Ecosystems) claims that, "These devices need to be affordable, and the experience needs to be great." 

"We don’t just want to provide people with access – we also want to provide a useful, high-quality experience," he added. 

So instead of it being about skimping out on the bells and whistles, Google is focusing on how to make frugal processors, with less storage, more efficient. This is one of the main reasons that hardware changes aren’t at the centre stage of this venture. 

The company has tailored the traditional Google apps to be optimised of the Android Go platform. YouTube Go, Google Go, Maps Go, Files Go and the latest, Gmail Go have already been launched in the Play Store. Though some of these apps are only available on Android Oreo and later upgrades, others can be loaded by older versions of the Android UI as well. 

Animations and other fancy plug-ins may be missing, but they reduce the unnecessary load that the processors have to bear. So far the reviews have been positive with users that have tried the Go apps. 

Not be confused with Android One

Android One employs the full version of the Android OS. Devices running on the UI, the most popular being Xiaomi’s Mi A1, have their original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) promise that it won’t weigh down on the overall experience. 

What makes Android One special is the assurance of faster OS updates as compared to devices that run other UIs for the next two years as well as three years of security updates. 

All Google apps are optimised to run on this interface to provide the optimal experience. That is to say, ideally, the devices should have a longer lifespan since they’ve been built to make better use of their hardware.

Even Android One announcements are going to be made at the MWC 2018, so there’s a lot to look forward to.

The opportunity

While Android Go phones will capitalise on the budget market, Android One devices can take advantage of that opportunity to launch high-end phones that don’t compromise on performance and specifications in any way. 

The MWC 2018 is going to be an exciting time to see where the next trend of smartphones will lead. As of now, Android functions on more that 2 billion active machines from 1300 OEMs across 24,000 unique products.

Prabhjote Gill is the Senior Journalist at Business Insider India. She covering everything space, tech and defence at Business Insider India. She is also in-charge of allocating stories to junior writers.