Google shows off operating system for budget smartphones

Operating System

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Google is showing off its latest Android operating system aimed at budget phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The company also announced that Google Assistant will soon be available in 30 languages, up from today’s eight, and will be able to switch between languages seamlessly.

This is the Android Oreo Go operating system.

It is Google’s attempt to make inroads into emerging markets where most smartphones have less memory, less RAM and slower data connections.

The system was launched late last year but it is now starting to appear on new smartphones, announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), such as the Alcatel 1X and the Nokia 1.

“These are phones that have low memory, between 512 (MB) and 1GB of RAM. It means that we have re-thought from the ground up what the smartphone experience should be on these devices,” says Sydney Thomashow, Google PR manager.

The operating system has been stripped back to the essentials, which means that the Android Go apps can launch 15 percent faster, according to Google.

The apps themselves have been optimised to take up less space.

According to Google, the Android Go apps will take up 50 percent less space on the smartphone – leaving more for photos and music.

“So, entry-level devices are quite popular. And they are quite important to getting more people online all around the world. That’s why we invested in really reimagining what this experience can be,” says Thomashow.

On the Youtube Go app users have the option to lower the data they use to stream the videos, important in countries where data might be expensive.

The Android Oreo Go system also comes with the Google Assistant, the first time the Assistant can be installed on budget phones.

“Android Go is an important piece of Google’s evolution in developing markets. The need for an optimised system on lower powered handsets has been around for a very long time,” says Nicole Scott, editor of Mobilegeeks technology news website.

Google has also announced that the Assistant will soon be available in 30 languages, up from the current 8 languages.

Later this year the Assistant will also be able to switch seamlessly between the languages.

When you speak to the Assistant in English it will respond in English. When your partner speaks in French, for example, it will answer in French.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) runs 26 February – 1 March.

The annual event is drawing over 2,300 exhibitors to Barcelona, including industry heavyweights Samsung, Huawei and Nokia.