Google wants to make sure everyone can access Android, even those who can’t afford fancy phones.
The company announced today that Android Oreo (Go Edition) will be launching alongside Android 8.1. The new operating system is optimized for entry-level smartphones — small, often prepaid phones like the Samsung Galaxy J3, the Motorola MOTO G, or Apple’s iPhone SE, which can sell for less than $400.
There are currently more Android users in India than there are in the U.S., according to Google, and the company has its sights set on the “billions more” who don’t yet have access.
The company has also released lightweight “Go” versions of its popular apps including Youtube Go, Google Maps Go, and Gmail Go that take up 50 percent less space than their full-sized counterparts. The company also launched a Google Play Store that highlights apps designed for cheaper devices.
The operating system also includes a new app called Files Go that helps you organize, back up, navigate, and share your apps, images, videos, documents, and more.
The Go Edition comes equipped with a bunch of data-saving features, which have the potential to save more than 600 MB of data per year. This could be a lifesaver for users of entry-level smartphones, many of which use prepaid SIM cards.
And don’t worry: The Go Edition sports many of the signature features of its parent, Android Oreo, including Google Play Protect, which scans app downloads for malware.
Google has recently encouraged developers to design apps in accordance with its Building for Billions Guidelines, to optimize them for phones in developing markets. Its Developers website provides advice for designing apps for users with limited connectivity, supporting devices with less advanced graphics and displays, and preserving battery life.