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.