Google is once again targeting its next billion users. The next billion as referred to here are non-smartphone users in the developing world. If this sounds familiar, it is because Google previously tried to target the lower-end phone market with its Android One initiative. Unfortunately, Android One was not the world-changing strategy that Google envisioned. The new initiative is called Android Go.

Android Go will follow a different plan to Android One which was a blueprint for lower spec phones running the full version of Android. Instead, Android Go will focus on building a version of Android specifically for phones with as little as 512MB of RAM. Even the apps will be optimized around lower bandwidth requirements.

There will be a version of the Play Store designed for Android Go apps, much like the YouTube Go app which is running a beta in India. A program called “Building for Billions” will guide developers to create or optimize existing apps for the new platform.

Android Go starts with the latest version of Android, currently called “O”. Google has committed to an Android Go release with every release of Android going forward. In fact, every phone with less than 1GB of RAM will get Android Go.

With this move, it is likely that Google will also gain some of the markets that goes to cheaper devices which get much older versions of Android and other pre-loaded apps without Google Services. With this move, it is quite possible that Android will pass 3 billion users in the next two years.

Written by: Omar Amanat

Summary: Smartphone models come out on an annual basis. Before you wait hours in line, consider the alternate options that are available to you.

Since the original launch of the smartphone over a decade ago, it’s become an essential part of daily life. Whether you’re a child, teen, a tech-savvy college student, or even a senior citizen, you’re probably reading this article on a smartphone right now.

However, when the time comes, you’ll want to upgrade your current phone to the newest, shiniest, largest phone there is on the market. After all, technology is nothing short of exciting. If you’re planning on making this an annual investment, here are some tips that will help you save the max amount of money.

Trade-In Programs

Many carriers are now offering trade-in programs that allow you to obtain a significant discount on the newest smartphone out there by swapping out your old one. If you already have an old smartphone wasting away in your cabinet drawer, don’t just toss it in the trash, trade it in! On a side note, if you do go decide to rid of your old phone, recycle it – it’s full of toxins that you don’t want rotting in a landfill.

Back on topic, many of these programs are available in-store at major retailers. Just receive a quote, trade it in, and pay the difference for the new model. It’s rather simple, but be sure to compare around beforehand.

Consider Buying Refurbished Smartphones

Refurbished phones aren’t just pre-owned models that are error-prone, they’re a major discount for individuals that are looking to get a deep discount on the latest phone. Refurbished models are sent to the manufacturer where the memory and data is wiped and the components are checked, repaired, and cleaned. In most cases, refurbished phones are difficult to differentiate from it’s brand-new counterpart and are often old hundreds of dollars less than the fresh out of the box model. It’s worth considering and it could potentially last you another year until yet another smartphone model comes out on the market.

It was only a matter of time before IKEA entered the home automation market. Sales of smart home and connected devices are expected to increase 500% over the next two years. So it is fitting that IKEA just announced the launch of its Tradfri line of home automation devices. Tradfri means “wireless” in Swedish and at present consist of a gateway, lighting products, and sensors.

The system uses the ZigBee link standard for connected lights. If you have heard of that before, it is because it is the same system used by the Phillips Hue bulbs. The good news is that while the gateway device connects to the internet, the bulbs and the gateway from their local network. You will not need an internet connection to control your lights.

Just like all its other products, IKEA is pricing the Tradfri line aggressively. The main bundle, which is a gateway, remote and two lights costs just $85. There is also a motion controlled dimmer switch which looks very interesting. The demo video shows the user dimming the lights by rolling the dimmer around in his hands.

The standalone bulbs will cost around $22, but there are several other bundles which are more cost effective. For example, you can also buy a bulb and remote for $34. You can also pickup up the gateway alone for just $28.

IKEA is also selling LED panels and illuminated doors which are compatible with its storage units. Making a connected that fits easily into other existing products shows how IKEA can leverage its entire portfolio of products to stake a major position in home automation.