Thursday in CE: Android Go Gives Low-end Android Phones a Facelift
As an early adopter, it is a weird feeling to hear about an updated Android version straight from Google that has nothing to do with the flagship phone they produce. We are always looking for the newest and latest features that really show-off just how powerful the phone is.
Android Go is almost the literal opposite.
Launched on six phones this week, Android Go is a stripped down version meant to run on low-end devices. It factors minimal storage space, limited processing power, and spotty internet connection without compromising too much of Google's operating system. Google accomplished this by making a light version of Android Oreo, which would be called Android Oreo (Go Edition), as well as making their full suite of Go apps available.
From a technical standpoint, Google's Go edition takes up about 3GB. On a phone with only 8GB, that is huge. Other files like File Go and Datally will help the day to day management of storage space and how much data an app can use. Gmail Go and Youtube Go can offer different ways of downloading and streaming video respectively, and most of the Go apps continuously remind the user of the data and space they are using.
However, this is not Google's first attempt to address the low-end market. Android One was a venture to build excellent phones while keeping the price down. It didn't exactly fall short, but Google quickly realized manufacturers were good at picking their hardware.
That makes Google Go the attempt to fix it from a software perspective.
As a final thought, this doesn't seem like it should impact flagship users. Afterall, the Pixel 2 is a powerhouse and sports some of the best hardware in the game. But in reality, Google has made a scale that has a low point and a high point, and sometimes the high end is not where they want the app to exist. In other words, Google is going to get good at scaling back and tweaking their high-end apps and operating systems to be one of the most optimized smartphone packages to exist on the market.
For retailers, this means that lower-end Android phones have got a lot more to offer than just a reasonable price tag.
Can Spotify Compete Against Apple, Amazon, and Google?
Although not a burning question now, Spotify is starting to cook up something big. We found out recently that they want to get into the hardware game, but what exactly does that mean?
Well looking at how the Swedish-founded company is doing so far, they have announced that first and foremost they are ready to go public, with a $23 billion evaluation. That is a lot of money for a company that posted a $1.4 billion loss last year despite the $5 billion they made in revenue. That loss comes primarily from the royalty payments made to record labels.
They have also invested deeply into machine learning, generating a number of playlists full of new music for users to enjoy. In layman terms, they use a ton of math, meta tags, behavior analysis, and raw audio analysis to find songs that resonate in the same genre, length, tempo, loudness, and time signatures to find songs that you didn't even know you wanted to hear.
It's scary how well @Spotify Discover Weekly playlists know me. Like former-lover-who-lived-through-a-near-death experience-with-me well.
— Dave Horwitz (@Dave_Horwitz) October 27, 2015
And finally, Spotfiy is one of the few streaming companies poised to open their own record label. In actuality, it wouldn't be that crazy because they wouldn't even be the first to do it. Netflix has saved themselves millions of dollars by creating their own content, which has begun establishing who they are as a streaming company. Spotify could make a similar move and be just as successful.
But even with all these elements in their corner, can Spotify compete? In short, the answer is probably yes. However, their biggest venture would be their hardware one, and there is not much real estate left for a newcomer. Not only is every digital assistant packed into a respective smart speaker, but companies like Sonos are also filling in the gaps. Additionally, Spotify would take a massive hit if they made their service exclusive to their products.
All that to say, I would bet money on a pair of truly wireless headphones that can store playlists. You heard it here first.
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