At the Google I/O 2017 opening keynote the company touched on Android Go, a new version of Android built for budget smartphones in developing markets.

Android Go sounds very much like the existing Android One platform, which targeted budget devices in China, as a cheap and cheerful lightweight OS that can run on phones with as little as 512MB of RAM. It’s been a while since we saw any of those in the UK.

Google says that in future all phones with 1GB or less of RAM will run Go rather than full Android O.

What’s the difference between Android Go and Android O?

Both versions of the Android operating system offer access to Google Play for downloading third-party apps. However, in Android Go you’ll be shown only apps that have been optimised to run on less-powerful hardware. These apps won’t be intensive or over 10MB in size, and they will happily work offline.

YouTube Go is an example of the apps coming to Android Go, and unlike the full app available to Android O it lets you preview frames of a video and select the quality before you begin streaming it. You can also download YouTube Go videos over Wi-Fi for offline viewing absolutely free - something that is currently a paid feature in YouTube Red. (See how to download YouTube video.)

Android Go will allow users to monitor data usage in the notifications panel, whereas in full Android O this is buried in the Settings menu.

When is the Android Go release date?

Google said Android Go would be available for budget phones in 2018, though it has not confirmed where these devices will be sold.

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