Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:16

Google’s New Android Go Runs On Low-powered, Inexpensive Android Phones

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Android Go-optimized apps will be less than 10MB in size

WHY IT MATTERS TO YOU

Android Go is Google's answer to spotty bandwidth and underpowered smartphones, persistent problems in developing markets.

In developing markets like India and Brazil, smartphone infrastructure — not smartphone ownership — is the biggest barrier to the adoption of online services. Hundreds millions of people in India use Android phones — more than in the United States, Google says — but suffer from expensive, spotty networks that make it difficult to reliably access the web. To address that problem, Google is launching Android Go, a new platform for bandwidth-optimized apps.

“Part of Android’s mission is to bring computing to everyone,” Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering, said in a blog post. “We’re excited about seeing more users come online for the first time as the price of entry-level smart phones drop, and we want to help manufacturers continue to offer lower-cost devices that provide a great experience for these users.”

Android Go was designed from the get-go with slower, low-memory devices in mind, Google said. It supports phones with less than 1GB of RAM — as little as 512MB, in some cases — and exposes device-level connectivity settings to internet subscribers. Carriers can let people top up their data in their phone’s settings menu, and Chrome Data Saver — Google’s traffic-saving tool that uses proxy servers, compression, and machine intelligence to cut down on the amount of data consumed by web pages — will be switched on by default.

Google said Data Saver alone helps to save 750 terabytes of traffic every day.

Android Go will also collate Google’s other low-bandwidth offerings in a new section of the Google Play Store. In fact, devices running Android Go will only show apps that have been optimized for it — specifically, apps smaller than 10MB in size.

It will include YouTube Go, which launched earlier in beta earlier this year. It includes data-saving features like the ability to preview and download videos, more choice in resolutions, and YouTube P2P — the ability to share videos with local connections like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Smart Offline, a recent addition, downloads content overnight, when data rates tend to be cheapest.

Also in tow is Google’s keyboard, Gboard, which gained multilingual and transliteration support earlier this year. It automatically recognizes when you begin typing in more than one language, and uses real-time Google Translate to transcribe typed text.

Earlier this year, Google added more than 11 new languages to Gboard, including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, and Gujarati. They’re replete with support for auto-correction, prediction, and two layouts each — one for the native language script and one for the QWERTY layout for transliteration, which lets you spell words phonetically using QWERTY alphabet and get text output in your native language script.

The latest version of Google Translate, which will feature prominently in the new Android Go app store, can interpret the most widely used languages that are widely on the Indian subcontinent — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Kannada. Alongside those improvements, Google’s added machine learning-powered translation to Android Go’s built-in Translate functionality — when you encounter a webpage with foreign text, the Chrome browser will automatically offer to translate it using Google’s new neural network-assisted technique.

All devices with 1GB or less will get an Android Go model, and that “every” Android device will have it as an option.

Article originally published on 05-17-2017. Updated on 05-18-2017: Added additional details from Google’s Android Go session at Google I/O 2017. 

Source: This article was published digitaltrends.com By Kyle Wiggers

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