Google has today announced that Android Go is heading to partners as part of the Android 8.1 launch, meaning faster performing low-end phones could soon be a reality.

Announced at Google I/O in May this year, Android Go is designed to run on phones with low-end specs, specifically those phones with between 512MB to 1GB of memory. The optimisations for Android Go include three core improvements:

  • Operating System: Performance and storage improvements to the OS with data management features and security benefits built-in.
  • Google Apps: A new set of Google apps, designed to be lighter and relevant to the unique needs of people who are coming online for the first time.
  • Google Play Store: A tuned version of the Google Play Store that allows you to download any app, but also highlights the apps designed to work best on your device.

Google says that with the improvements in Android Go, apps will run up to 15% faster. As part of the launch of Android Go, Google will be launching a range of ‘Go’ branded Google apps that take up 50 percent less space. Apps from Google specifically designed for Android Go include Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and the new Files Go app by Google.

New apps optimised for Android Go will also be features on Google Play to make finding faster, better performing apps easier to find. Apps optimised for Android Go include Facebook Messenger Lite, Twitter Lite and WhatsApp, as well as games like Subway Surfers.

Google says the first Android Go optimised devices will be hitting the market in ‘the coming months’. No partners have been named as part of this launch, but it would be likely we’ll see phones running Android Go launched in emerging markets such as India.