Oreo Go shows Google hasn’t forgotten about the developing markets

Google has shown it is a company for the people after releasing Android Orea Go Edition, a slimmed down version of its latest OS, better suited for phones on the lower end of the market.

The OS is designed for devices 512 MB to 1 GB of memory, which wouldn’t normal be able to handle the requirements of the OS without freaking out. Just to put things into perspective, most flagship phones have 4 GB of memory, while the iPhone X have 3 GB and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 has 8 GB.

“To make sure billions more people can get access to computing, it’s important that entry-level devices are fully functioning smartphones that can browse the web and use apps,” Sagar Kamdar, Director of Product Management for Android.

“At Google I/O this year, we gave an early look at a project we called ‘Android Go’ to make this possible. We’re excited to announce that this software experience – Android Oreo (Go edition) – is ready, and launching as a part of the Android 8.1 release tomorrow.”

The idea behind this OS is simple; make an OS which works in markets where lower-end phones are more common. If Google didn’t produce the Go Version, there would be a couple of hundred million customers who probably wouldn’t use Android, as the features would be too high spec for the devices. That is lost advertising revenues from a couple of hundred million people, which doesn’t fly for Googlers.

One of the big focus areas here is surrounding the apps. Once you have the OS and the preinstalled apps on entry-level phones there is often little remaining space for anything else, such as music or games. Google has said it has optimized the preinstalled Google apps to take up 50% less space. There are also features which allow the user to determine which apps use data while idle.

Some of the new apps include Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and the new Files Go app, The Files Go app is a new data management tool which helps by removing spam, duplicate images or unused apps from devices.

While users in the Western markets are unlikely ever to directly experience such features, it’s a very useful move for the Googlers in the developing areas. Year-on-year profit growth has started to level off for the internet giant, though this is primarily due to success; there is only so much revenue which can be realized of one user. To continue staggering growth, Google will have to look to new markets, but also create localized products for these markets. That is the basis of the Go Edition.

Another interesting localized product is ‘two-wheeler mode’ in Google Maps, which has been launched in India. India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world, and the millions of motorcycle and scooter riders have different navigation needs than drivers of cars. This new feature of Google Maps shows routes not accessible to cars and trucks, customized traffic and arrival time estimations.

Right now, two-wheeler mode is only available in India, but there will be plenty of markets around South-East Asia which would be suitable for it as well. And we’re sure there will be a criminal underbelly in some Western markets which could find it useful also.

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