Google announced Android Go in May 2017 at the company’s annual developer conference, Google I/O. The goal of Android Go is to deliver an optimized version of Android (currently Android Oreo) that runs on low-end devices with 1GB of RAM or less, which will in turn allow smartphone OEMs to use less expensive hardware so they can sell devices at lower price points. There aren’t a lot of Android Go devices in the wild yet, but this week, Micromax announced that it’ll be launching a Rs 2,000 (about $31) Android Go smartphone in January.
The average price of a 4G smartphone in India is Rs 6,400 (about $100), but Android Go’s coming to devices that are far less expensive. Micromax’s $31 smartphone is expected to be followed by comparably-priced Android Go phones from Intex, Lava, Karbonn, and others.
Android’s middling performance on low-end devices has been a longstanding issue, but Google’s turned things around in recent years. One of Android 4.4 KitKat’s major selling points was the that it ran on devices with as little as 512MB of RAM. And just last month, Google officially launched Android Go, which not only requires less RAM and storage than standard Android installations, but comes with optimized applications including Google Go, YouTube Go, Files Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, and a special version of Google Assistant.
If all goes according to plan, it looks like we’ll see the first incredibly affordable Android Go smartphone come to India this month.