Google India today launched a lighter version of Android operating system that it said will work on devices with as little as 512 MB of RAM, and also unveiled a Google Assistant version that runs on Reliance Jio semi-smartphones.
LOW END PHONES
Google announced a new version of its Android operating system called AndroidGo, tailored for low-end phones.
According to Google, devices with 512MB to 1GB of RAM will benefit from Go, and will get a better performing OS with built-in data management features and security benefits.
“There is also a new set of pre-installed Google apps, including Google Go and the Google Assistant for Android Oreo (Go edition), designed to be lighter and more relevant to the unique needs of the next billion users,” the search company said.
“Devices on AndroidGo will ship early 2018,” said Sameer Samat, head of product management at the company’s Android Play division.
Android Oreo (Go edition) smartphones also come with a version of the Google Play Store which will highlight low-resource oriented apps suited for the device. However, any app can be installed.
The Go Edition of Android will be 15% faster than the regular edition and leaves a much smaller footprint on the storage memory than the regular version, it said.
It will also come with a data saver feature.
It said it is launching a special version of the Google Assistant—the Google Assistant for the JioPhone, built for India in both English and Hindi.
Once installed, users can search the web, send a text message, or carry out other activities such as playing music by saying ‘OK Google’.
Besides English, the application also supports Hindi, but not the other Indian languages.
For now, it is not clear how the application can be installed on the JioPhone, but it is likely that the Google will provide a url from which the app can be installed.
“This will help bring the benefits of the Google Assistant to millions of first time internet users on the JioPhone with an intuitive voice-based user interface, along with a rich set of data services. The Assistant can help make phone calls, text, play music and videos, navigate and search the internet, and access other apps and services,” the company said.
Google Assistant is the company’s answer to Siri, the artificially intelligent talking bot on Apple’s iPhone.
Like Siri, Google Assistant will answer your questions by searching on the Internet.
However, it will also answer questions that do not have any answers on the Internet, such as ‘How old are you’.
Apple’s Siri has been found to be therapeutic for children with communication problems, such as those suffering from Down’s Syndrome and Autism.
Eventually, it is believed that nearly all of the interactions between humans and machines would be carried out via voice instead of text, as is the case now.
Google also unveiled special navigation apps tailored for two wheelers — people who cannot keep checking the phone’s display as they ride.
Google also announced a new version of Tez, its payment app that incorporates UPI technology.
In addition to UPI, the new Tez will come with support for Bharat Bill Payment, which allows you to view, subscribe to and pay bills from electricity companies, phone companies, schools and lakhs of other firms in India.
“Once people pay a bill on Tez, they never have to add the billing organization again. Tez will also remind users when certain bills are due. And they can avoid paying the same bill twice, since the payment status will be automatically updated,” it said.
Tez has nearly 12 million active users, the company said.
“There are more than 525,000 merchants already on Tez, using it to take payments, pay their suppliers or transfer money to employees. And Tez isn’t just being used in India’s top metros—in fact, we’ve seen Tez users from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from towns in Arunachal Pradesh to the villages of Gujarat.”
SPACE SAVING APP
The company announced ‘Files Go’, a new app that helps free up space, find files faster and share files offline with people nearby.
In tests over the last month, the average user saved 1GB of space, Google said, adding that it was built from scratch for Go edition devices. The app can be installed on all devices.