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Google making cheap Android phones support its latest software

San Francisco – Google is making another go at getting cheap Android phones
to support its latest software, an attempt to lock more consumers in the
developing world into the internet giant’s services.

The new program, called Android Go, was announced at the
Alphabet Inc. division’s I/O developer conference on Wednesday in Mountain View, California.
It bakes features directly into Google’s mobile operating system that are
designed specifically for cheap phones, including software to manage cellular
data costs. The service will launch in 2018.

Google releases a new Android operating system every year,
but most devices running the software use older versions. These phones do not
get as frequent security and feature updates, a persistent problem for the
company. 

Read also: What’s the sales strategy for Google’s phone?

India has
more active Android users than the US, Sameer Samat, a Google
executive, said on stage on Wednesday. But in countries like this, the high
cost of mobile data is a major barrier to consumers buying Smartphones and
using Google services. 

Android Go has a feature that more easily tracks mobile data
usage and ties automatically with the billing systems of wireless carriers,
Samat said. Google also designed the service to minimize data usage on
bandwidth-hungry services like YouTube.

Previously, Google tried to solve this low-end phone issue
with a program called Android One. The service was designed to tailor the
latest Android operating system for phones costing around $100 or less.
However, it failed to take off in key markets, like India, because the companies that
manufactured the devices couldn’t make much money just selling the hardware.

In an interview, Samat said that the Android One program is
continuing, although it dropped the earlier effort to work with phones at the
$100 price point.

Less Data Usage

Android Go will only be available on phones that run
Google’s upcoming software version, available next year. So far,…

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