With Android Go, Google tries again at emerging markets
Two years ago, a Google senior vice president named Sundar Pichai flew back to his birth country of India to launch a major new initiative aimed at connecting “the next 5 billion.”
He was referring to the vast number of people who did not yet have a smartphone. The effort was called Android One, and the goal was to teach hardware makers in emerging markets how to make high-quality, though affordable, phones.
Since then, a few things have changed. Pichai is now Google’s CEO. And Android One isn’t just focused on emerging markets anymore (more on that later). But Google is still trying to connect that next 5 billion.
On Wednesday, at the Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, Google said it’s starting a new program, focused on phone software, instead of phones themselves. It’s called Android Go (though that’s just an internal name), and the goal is to make Google’s blockbuster mobile software better cater to people on entry-level phones.