Google previews Android O, plans lightweight Android Go

Thursday 18 May 2017 | 08:35 CET | News

Google unveiled at its I/O developers conference a preview of the next release of Android and a new lightweight version of the OS aimed at developing markets. The company also announced the milestone of 2 billion active Android devices around the world. 

Android O, expected to launch later this year, will bring more fluid experiences and improve 'vitals' such as battery life and security, Google said. New features will include picture-in-picture to multi-task and Smart Text Selection to improve copy and paste with machine learning. The company also promised a faster start-up and improved app performance through greater use of Instant Apps. Android O is available now as a developers preview.

Android Go is developed for smartphones with memory of 1 GB or less. Google said the aim is to bring mobile computing to the next billion people. Android Go also offers features for users with limited data connectivity and who speak multiple languages. In addition to the OS, it's integrated in Google apps like YouTube and Chrome and a lighter Google Play Store. All three will ship together, as a single experience, starting in 2018.

Also for Android users Google introduced Google Play Protect, its own security software for Android devices. Play Protect is built into every device with Google Play and will provide regular, automatic updates to keep data and the device safe. The service detects and removes apps that might be harmful and includes a 'Find my device' feature to locate the phone if it's lost or stolen. 

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