Google's upcoming low-end configuration of Android—"Android Go"—has hit a major milestone. With the launch of Android 8.1 (which is happening sometime in the next 24 hours!), Android Go is being released to OEMs as "Android Oreo (Go Edition)." Device manufacturers can now start the process of getting the OS up and running on low-end hardware. Google is also announcing a suite of "new and reimagined" Google apps: Google Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, YouTube Go, Google Assistant Go, Files Go, Gboard, Chrome, and Play.
Android Go was announced at Google I/O 2017 as a special configuration of Android 8.1 Oreo for low-end devices. The new configuration is meant for all Android devices with less than 1GB of RAM, and it strips down Android to use less memory, less storage, and run better on cheap phones. The goal with Android Go is capturing the so-called "next billion users." Only about half of the world's 7.6 billion people are online, and when these new users first log into the Internet, they'll be doing it on the cheapest general-purpose computing device available: a smartphone. Google wants to capture this flood of new users, so Android Go and the "Go" Google apps are designed for these ultra-cheap devices with limited connectivity.
Google's Go initiative focuses on software for devices with limited memory, storage, CPU horsepower, and connectivity. Since many of these users will be in non-English speaking countries, there's also a focus on bilingualism, so things can function in the Internet's majority language of English, along with whatever the user's native language is.