Google at MWC 2018: Android Go phones to debut finally

Ahead of MWC 2018, Google has confirmed it will be showcasing the first batch of Android Go phones.

| Updated on: Feb 23 2018, 16:47 IST
Here’s what to expect from Google at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress 2018.
Here’s what to expect from Google at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress 2018. (AP)
Here’s what to expect from Google at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress 2018.
Here’s what to expect from Google at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress 2018. (AP)

The annual Mobile World Congress is set to kick off on February 26 in Barcelona, Spain. The four-day conference will see major announcements from top smartphone players, including the likes of Samsung and HMD Global. Another major player that will be participating in the MWC 2018 is Google.

The software giant, which is now aggressively targeting the hardware segment with self-branded devices such as Google Home Mini and Pixel smartphones, has confirmed it will be showcasing Android Go (Oreo Edition) and Android One-based smartphones at the conference.

Google introduced Android Go platform late last year in a bid to provide a fluid experience to users in emerging market such as India. The philosophy behind the Android Go platform is to deliver a fast and intuitive experience on phones that have lower RAM power and storage capacity, and grapple with patchy internet connectivity.

To make this happen, Android Go will be backed by a slew of "Go" applications, which are mostly lightweight applications, which consume lesser storage, are fast to load and retain core features of the main applications. For instance, Google has already launched YouTube Go, Google Go, Play Store Go and Gmail Go among others.

"With Android Oreo (Go edition), these phones are able to provide a high-quality experience, with the latest version of Android, Google Play Protect, and dedicated areas in Google Play highlighting apps optimized for Go edition. Android Oreo (Go edition) phones also include a set of apps from Google that are designed to use less memory and storage space, but still offer excellent experiences," wrote Hiroshi Lockheimer, Senior Vice President, Platforms & Ecosystems at Google.

Android Go apps.
Android Go apps. (Google)
image caption
Android Go apps. (Google)

"Starting next week, you'll see the first set of Android Oreo (Go edition) phones, and soon after they'll be available for you to purchase," he added.

Google last year had confirmed it had partnered with various OEMs to launch the Android Go phones in India. Indian handset maker Micromax had announced it will be launching Bharat Go phone on January 26, but evidently it has been delayed. The phone, however, is expected to be launched very soon.

Android One, Google's previous attempt at providing fluid OS experience on low-end phones, will also be making a presence at the MWC 2018. Even as Google's first batch of Android One failed to take off in India, the software giant revived the programme with a partnership with Xiaomi late last year.

The duo launched Mi A1, a mid-range smartphone and also Xiaomi's first-ever Android One-based phone. Just to recap, Android One-affiliation means the phones come with near-stock Android experience with very little customisation. Also, Android One phones along with Google's Pixel phones are among the first ones to receive the security updates and software updates from Google.

"We're excited about the progress we've made with Android One in recent months, and at MWC you'll see news from our partners about some great new Android One devices," Lockheimer added in the blog post.

Google is also expected to announce a new version of its Augmented Reality-focused ARCore platform. Rival to Apple's ARKit, Google's ARCore aims to bring native AR experience to the existing and future Android smartphones. At the MWC 2018,Google will showcasing ARCore 1.0 with new and improved features.

Apart from Google, Samsung is gearing up for a big launch ahead of the MWC 2018. The Korean giant will be unveiling its Galaxy S9-series, the new flagship smartphones and successor to the current lineup featuring Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

Companies such as HMD Global, Huawei, TLC and LG will make some big announcements. LG has already announced it will be showcasing its K-series of phones at the conference.

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First Published Date: 23 Feb, 16:11 IST