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Android Go Will Make the Most Basic Phones Run Smoothly (cnet.com) 102

Entry-level phones may cost less than big hitters, but they come at the cost of space, speed and efficiency. Google's looking to change that with Android Go. From a report: Android Oreo (Go Edition) will launch tomorrow as part of the Android Oreo 8.1 rollout and all Android Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of memory will be optimised for Android Go. Google says this will allow them to function properly as smartphones while doubling their available storage space. The experience includes: An improved operating system with better performance, storage and security features; a new set of lighter Google apps, suitable for first-time web users; a Google Play store that highlights apps designed to work best on entry-level devices.
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Android Go Will Make the Most Basic Phones Run Smoothly

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Even on a slow device, I'm the first...

    • a new set of lighter Google apps

      Can I get the set of lighter apps for my non-Go phone? Even better, can I get the hundreds of megabytes of non-uninstallable Google crap bloatware scraped off my phone?

      It's a sign that even Google have finally realised how much crapware they shovel onto each Android phone when they have to do a "lite" (meaning manages to run in a mere 512MB-1GB, about the same as a Cray 2 supercomputer) version of their bloat.

  • Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YuppieScum ( 1096 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @09:17AM (#55679593) Journal
    ...so are they going to back-port it to my 4-yo Samsung, so I can finally get an upgrade from Android 4.2?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Thats a Samsung query... The article clearly states "rollout and all Android Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of memory "

    • ... maybe. Check with your provider. If not, it's worth a mention that LineageOS builds of Oreo are being produced for some older devices, though the list for Samsung is pretty darned short so far. If you just want Android 7, the supported list is MUCH longer.

    • The upgrade path requires you to dunk it in a glass of milk...
    • Were your mobile ---c-o-m-p-u-t-e-r--- "device" actually programmable, then a community of enthusiasts would have already popped up to support you "ancient" technology.

      I, for one, don't need whizbang graphics, or a UI designed to keep children mesmerized. My current phone's software takes up 11 GiB! Good GOD. Do you know how much you can do with that amount of space?! I don't need your silly animations, or your icons. Please. Just... just... Get out of my way!

    • If you are using a 4 year old phone that's in you. It's a computer not a long term investment.
      • Re: Great... (Score:4, Informative)

        by hackertourist ( 2202674 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @11:05AM (#55680175)

        Computers shouldn't be disposable items. 4 years is perfectly reasonable for many uses, and no more than should be expected from a $700 device.
        I'm not using my phone for more demanding tasks than my 2003 Palm TX could handle just fine.

        • You can absolutely keep your 4 year old handheld computer. What you can't do is cry like a little bitch that you don't get free major OS upgrade with your purchase.
          • Why not? It's just the latest attempt at forced obsolescence. There are no valid technical reasons not to provide OS updates for older devices.

            • There is a technical reason and the fact that you think otherwise is astounding. I'm not even going to waste my time elaborating because frankly if you don't know that then this isn't the website for you.
            • How is it an attempt at forced obsolescence??? Has your 4 year old phone suddenly stopped working? Is your phone suddenly missing essential features? Nope. One of the dumbest things I've heard this week.
              • leaving a device full of security holes by not providing security updates and bugfixes = forced obsolescence.

      • Re: Great... (Score:5, Informative)

        by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @11:06AM (#55680177)

        Computers should last at least 5-10 years. The idea of throwing one out because the OS is outdated is stupid -- I'm typing this on a 6 year old Thinkpad which works beautifully once upgraded with 8GB RAM and SSD.

        Our throw-away society is just contributing to pollution from manufacturing devices and from disposal of e-waste (recycling is a nice idea, but somewhat of a myth in reality).

      • It's a computer not a long term investment

        And? 4 year old phone? Sounds like something with a 1.6GHz CPU and 2GB of RAM. Precisely what do you do on your smartphone that wouldn't work just fine on that kind of hardware?

        • Run Oreo. Doh! (A phone isn't just a processor and RAM)
          • Run Oreo. Doh! (A phone isn't just a processor and RAM)

            Oh you must be one of those "gotta have a quad core to make a phone call types". I've yet to see anyone actually do anything with a smartphone that we haven't been doing for 4 years already. But hey I get it. Oreos are tasty and it's oh so important to be a letter of the alphabet higher.

            • You are an idiot.
              • And you see I get this response from everyone who I ask to tell me what's so awesome about their latest phone that can't be done on 4 year old hardware. It's almost like a panic reaction *inside voice* omg he's caught me, I've got nothing to say, but I must say something or else ahhhhhhhh */inside voice* "You're an idiot!" *inside voice* yeah that showed him */inside voice*

                • Yes, everyone calls you an idiot, but it never occurs to you that you might be an idiot, thereby cementing the fact of your idiocy. The difference between a 4 year old phone and one on the shelf today is quite large. Meanwhile you are the idiot saying "why get a new Porsche when you can drive a used Ford Escort? They both get you from point A to B! Hey, how come everyone keeps calling me an idiot when I say That? They must not have an answer!"
  • So what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @09:19AM (#55679597)

    Will the low-end of Android Oreo smartphones be slower than the entry-level Android Go smartphones?

    Why can't all phones run Android Go? Wouldn't it make all phones faster and make batteries last longer?

    • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @09:47AM (#55679733) Homepage

      It kind of reminds me of the Windows LTSB:

      Microsoft: Hey, we're releasing a build with all the crap stripped out, and with a stable and predictable update and support schedule. That way, you can use it on very special devices when you need to...

      Everyone: Oh, that sounds great. I'll just install it on everything.

      Microsoft: No! It's only to be installed on very particular devices, when absolutely necessary.

      Everyone: But... why? What you're describing is what we want. Stable predictable releases with all of the crap stripped out.

      Microsoft: But then we can't spy on you or put ads into your start menu.

      Everyone: ... yeah... that's what we want.

      Microsoft: And we can't install random updates and reboot your computer at arbitrary times outside of your control.

      Everyone: ...

      Microsoft: If you use the LTSB on your normal workstations, we won't really support it and we'll make it harder to upgrade when you want to.

      Everyone: *sigh* Fine.

      • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @12:15PM (#55680833)

        Everyone: *sigh* Fine. *Navigates to www.thepiratebay.org to download LTSB release.

        FTFY. Just like when downloading movies vs buying blurays, the pirates end up being those people with the best quality product.

      • by e r ( 2847683 )
        Or... You could use Linux...
        • It's not an issue of what I use. I don't use Windows, but if I did, I wouldn't mind putting up with their nonsense if it were just the OS for one computer, for my own personal use. No, the problem is that I'm an IT guy, and I have to manage thousands of random other people's computers, which is something that Microsoft makes impossible.

    • There is the idea that if we take software designed for a slow system and put it on a fast system, it will out perform the same tasks on software designed to the bigger system.

      A newer faster device may not work as well on Android Go, vs Normal Android.

      For example lets say on an old phone, We don't turn on predictive caching, on some tasks, because the slower device will spend a lot of time predicting what it will need and storing it in memory, so 1/3 of the device performance is saved by not doing this. Th

      • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

        Makes sense. It seems like Android Go is optimized primarily for phones with very little memory. Maybe they limit some background processes too and shut down all but the foreground app. That can be annoying - and unnecessary on a device with enough memory.

        My question is - who's going to make these devices. if all they're really skimping on is memory vs today's low-end devices, and they're not really much cheaper (there are lots of great deals on pretty powerful Android hardware in emerging markets), the

    • by Gregg M ( 2076 )
      If you watch the video on that page you'll see that the developers will have an Android Go configuration for every new version of Android.
  • The last few phones I bought were "entry level", and one had 1Gb, the other three 2Gb, of RAM, and both of the latter had recent versions of Android so were capable of just adding the SD card storage to the internal space without the user having to manage where files go.

    I think there's a case for making Android lighter in general, but aiming to support devices with half a gigabyte... who is making phones that poorly spec'd?

    • by b0bby ( 201198 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @10:12AM (#55679875)

      It's for the developing world, trying to keep the costs down.

    • I think there's a case for making Android lighter in general, but aiming to support devices with half a gigabyte... who is making phones that poorly spec'd?

      You can go into any big box store in the USA and still buy them... sold by PAYG phone operators like Tracfone. Plus, lots of us are still using older phones. If the SoCs in them become the basis of a cheap phone with a newer Android, we will probably get new versions of LineageOS for those devices. For instance, there is a LineageOS 15.0 rom for my Moto G 2nd [xda-developers.com] which is coming along fairly well; the only things which don't work right already are the camera and selinux (which currently has to be permissive.) I

      • I've looked at those phones. 1Gb really does seem to be the absolute floor right now for memory, and has been for several years. The phone I bought I mentioned had 1Gb of RAM was literally the cheapest T-Mobile prepaid (I have a plan, but obviously their prepaid phones work and are easy to buy) at Wal-mart that day, costing something like $30. And that was over two years ago.

        Where are you seeing a prepaid Android phone that has less than 1Gb of RAM, and what make and model is it? Other than three or four

        • Where are you seeing a prepaid Android phone that has less than 1Gb of RAM, and what make and model is it? Other than three or four year old discontinued models, it's hard to believe they're still out there.

          I haven't looked in some months, but last time I did there were some $20-ish super-duper low-end smartphones at Kmart with 512MB.

  • A cross between a horrible thieving mobile operating system and an irrelevant flavor of the month programming language invented as a pathetic effort to displace C? Never mind, I don't actually care in the slightest. Back to my Symbian phone. *Yawn*
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @10:44AM (#55680051) Journal
    The first computer I had with 512MB of RAM ran Windows 2000, StarOffice, Visual Studio, and Netscape Communicator, with WinAMP playing music in the background. It didn't run them all at the same time, but it typically had 2-3 of them running at once. The monitor was only 1024x768, and wasn't using a compositing windowing system so I realise the requirements for the graphics will be higher on a modern phone, but is 512MB really such a small amount for a device that's typically running a single user-facing application at any given time?
    • by sad_ ( 7868 )

      the first computer i had that ran a graphical interface and had office-type applications only had 512kB!

      • The difference is that 512KB isn't enough to do things like WYSIWYG rendering of vector fonts, spell checking with a decent-sized dictionary (well, WordStar could, but only by storing most of the dictionary on disk and it was slow), and so on. The computer I had with 640KB of RAM did a lot less than the one with 512MB of RAM. In contrast, I did far more with the machine with 512MB than I do on my phone, yet 512MB is considered ultra low end for a phone.
  • App developers will then forget these phones as priorities because their users aren't rolling in money. Updates to initially installed apps will bloat in size because of feature creep and device will run out of storage and become a paperweight. Happens to every entry level device sold with inadequate specs to shave off $5 from price, or for price differentiation to upsell pricier SKUs.

  • Good Enough Phone. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Zorro ( 15797 ) on Tuesday December 05, 2017 @11:35AM (#55680451)

    I DON'T make it a habit of walking around with $500 or a Gold coin in my pocket all the time.

    WHY would I wan't to carry a expensive very fragile thing around all the time?

    Star Trek data pads are pretty much disposable no one gives a f*ck if they lose or break one, that is how phones should be!

    What I can get for $300 is the most I will spend. If I break or lose it I won't need a grief counselor or a finance company to replace it.

  • ... who are these freaks?

    • 'developing world'.

      We've been down this road before. On this very forum, Mozilla were laughed at for releasing their flagship OS on junk hardware designed for the Indian market.

      Oreo on 512MB will choke, in the same way that any 7 year old phone designed for Gingerbread would.

    • Grandma and Grandpa with their first new-fangled "smart" phone?
  • "Android Go Will Make the Most Basic Phones Run Smoothly"

    So IOW it should have been name 'Android Run'.

  • Isn't this what Android L was supposed to do?? Unify all the low spec devices out there? If my aging memory serves me correctly, they specifically mentioned 512Mb also as a target for minimum spec
     

  • How about they make this available to older phones like Nexus 4 and tablets like Nexus 7? Like someone else mentioned in the comments here, this throw away culture that makes (Android) phones and tablets outdated and not secure after 2-3 years (or less) is absolutely ridiculous and terrible.

  • 2GB isn't a whole lot of RAM for an android device in the mainstream usage. This should be an optional run mode across all devices. Also what happens as applications grow and increase memory usages over the years?

    For example: My 2GB devices may have been more than enough RAM for the apps when I bought it. Now apps are using more and more RAM can't use it like I used to. Why shouldn't I be able to tell the apps to run the lower RAM usage versions?

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