At Google I/O 2017, the Android Go project (and even Android O) got buried beneath a ton of cool stuff that Google announced.
The Android Go project is the second version of Android O that resorts to a lighter set of Google Apps and can run efficaciously on affordable phones with rather conservative hardware approach. And according to a report by ET, Android Go phones will be available in India by the Diwali season.
As part of its multi-pronged strategy to curb Android Fragmentation, Google has been adding most of the new Cool features and interface changes to its Apps rather than the OS since that enables it to pass on these features to all classes of users running different base Android flavor.
And thus over the years, these full-fledged Google Apps have become a tad overwhelming for entry-grade smartphones. Google also wants first-time users in emerging markets like India to effectively use and adapt to its ecosystem of Apps and services, and that’s where Android Go comes in.
The objective of Android Go program is similar to Google’s Android One program which failed to find its footing, as Google couldn’t convince domestic manufacturers to accept its hardware diktats. The Android GO, however, won’t require manufacturers to use separate hardware.
At the same time, it must be noted that Entry-level phone hardware is getting quite good each passing day and, also, compared to a couple of years back, more and more consumers are now open to spending more on smartphones. But yes, Android Go phones could account for a meaningful improvement in underserved tier-1 and tier-2 markets which are precisely where Google expects to find the next billion Android consumers.
Should we be excited about Android Go phones? It’s unfortunately still too early to answer that. We will need to experience them first to be sure if this is indeed something that will have a resounding impact.
So, when we launched Android One, the focus was on delivering a core Google experience … which was also very secure. So we focused on security updates. We focused on OS letter updates and to do so we had to put a lot of restrictions on our partners in terms of what hardware components and chips they could use. That created a friction in the market that the partners were not happy with. And eventually, we were not able to reach enough users.
In Go, as you see, the focus is not to restrict hardware at all. The focus is completely to make the apps and the OS work on the lowest common dominator. So, therefore the ecosystem adoption will be higher and we still will try to get the best parts of Android One (which is security updates) to continue to go on on this one.
Said Google’s lead for the Android One project, Arpit Midha