Google has released Android Go (Oreo edition), a version of Android custom-designed for low-end devices, which has been made available for device manufacturers and developers.
Available today as a preview on the Google Play Store in India and Indonesia, Android Oreo (Go edition) is part of today's release of Android 8.1. Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of RAM. According to Googles this is a better performing OS tailored for low-end phones, bringing data management features and security benefits.
Google says that the average app is now 15 percent faster on devices running Android Oreo (Go edition). In addition,
Android Oreo (Go edition)'s preinstalled Google apps take up 50 percent less space. The net result is that the amount of available storage on entry-level devices has been doubled.
Devices running Android Oreo (Go edition) also come with Google's data saver features turned on by default. For example, Data Saver in Chrome saves the average user more than 600MB of data per year. You can also manage which apps can use background data with our built-in data saver feature.
And all devices with Android Oreo (Go edition) get Google Play Protect built-in. Google Play Protect continuously works to keep your device, data and apps safe. It scans your app installs, even when you're offline, no matter where you downloaded them from.
There is also a new set of pre-installed Google apps, including Google Go and the Google Assistant for Android Oreo (Go edition), designed to be lighter and more relevant to the needs of users in countries such as India. Android Oreo (Go edition) smartphones also come with a version of the Google Play Store that allows people to download any app, while highlighting the apps designed to work best on Go edition devices.
Preinstalled on Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, this set of optimized apps includes Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and the new Files Go app by Google.
For example, Google Go-a new app to find the information you want-optimizes data by up to 40 percent, weighs less than 5MB in size, and makes it faster to find popular and trending information with a simple, tappable interface. And with the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition), you can quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more with your voice and a single touch of the screen.
Storage-saving features extend beyond the OS to a new file-management app by Google-Files Go-which helps you clean up space and stay organized.
Google's partners' phones running Android Oreo (Go edition) will hit shelves in early 2018.
A special version of the Google Assistant-the Google Assistant for the JioPhone, built for India in both English and Hindi-is launching today. This will help bring the benefits of the Google Assistant to millions of first time internet users on the JioPhone with a voice-based user interface, along with a set of data services. The Assistant can help make phone calls, text, play music and videos, navigate and search the internet, and access other apps and services.
Another India-first feature is the new "two-wheeler mode" in Google Maps. 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 automobiles. Two-wheeler mode in Maps shows trip routes that use "shortcuts" not accessible to cars and trucks. It also provides customized traffic and arrival time estimations. And since so many Indians rely on local landmarks for navigation, two-wheeler mode will show major landmarks on the route so that riders can plan their trip before starting, and don't have to keep checking the phone on the go.
Two-wheeler mode is launching in India today, to be followed by more countries in the coming months.
Google's India-first mobile payments app Tez has seen growth in its first 10 weeks. Tez has processed over 140 million transactions from nearly 12 million active users. There are more than 525,000 merchants already on Tez, using it to take payments, pay their suppliers or transfer money to employees.
In the coming weeks, Tez will start rolling out a customized experience to pay bills right in the app. More than 70 billers will be supported, including utilities and direct-to-home service providers. Tez will also remind users when certain bills are due. And they can avoid paying the same bill twice, since the payment status will be automatically updated.