In case you missed it: Android announcements at Mobile World Congress

Android’s mission, from day one, has been to bring the power of computing to everyone. We’re proud that the platform has made mobile technology accessible and useful to billions of people over the last 10 years. While we continue to celebrate Android’s open platform, we’ve been working closely with our partners to bring a consistent hardware and software experience that meets the expectations of users all around the world.

This week at Mobile World Congress, a new generation of smartphones were announced through our two programs: Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One.

Here’s a recap of all the announcements, straight from Barcelona:

Android Oreo (Go edition)

Android Oreo (Go edition) offers a fast and smooth experience optimized for devices with 1GB of memory or less, while still making sure you have a high-quality experience with the current version of Android and Google Play Protect. Thanks to optimizations to the platform and apps, Android (Go edition) provides double the storage available for use out of the box. At Mobile World Congress, we welcomed some of the first global smartphones to run Android Oreo (Go edition):

  • Alcatel introduced its first Android Oreo (Go edition) phone with the Alcatel 1X, featuring the latest Alcatel smartphone design language and technology.
  • General Mobile announced the “GM 8 Go,” its first product with Android Oreo (Go edition), as part of the company’s plan to bring computing to more people in Turkey and around the world. 
  • HMD Global announced the Nokia 1, a high quality Android Oreo (Go edition) device that delivers smartphone essentials with the reassuring quality users expect of a Nokia phone in a refreshingly familiar design to fans around the world. 
  • Huawei has also committed significant resources to supporting Android Oreo (Go edition) smartphones and will be bringing a device to all major emerging markets in the near future. 
  • LAVA International Limited introduced the LAVA Z50, which will soon be available at over 100,000 retail stores in India.
  • Micromax Informatics gave a first glimpse of BHARAT GO, its first Android Oreo (Go Edition) smartphone, with the goal to convert millions of feature phone users onto these smartphones.
  • TRANSSION announced it will release Android Oreo (Go edition) phones across its brands, TECNO, itel and Spice, which will cater to a wide range of consumer groups across a diverse set of international markets, particularly Africa.
  • ZTE featured the ZTE Tempo Go, an unlocked smartphone running Android Oreo (Go edition), that looks to provide an optimized and powerful entry level smartphone experience.

Android One

Following the 2017 launches from HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, Sharp, and Xiaomi, we added several new devices to our global Android One portfolio. Each of these devices pairs high quality hardware from our OEM partners with a software experience designed by Google to deliver an experience that is smart, secure, and simply amazing.

To kick off the show in Barcelona, HMD Global unveiled the new Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco, a range of new premium and mid-tier Android One devices. With the latest Google innovations out of the box and two years of OS upgrades, these devices will deliver an easy to use experience that gets better over time. With Google Play Protect and three years of regular security updates, these will be among the most secure devices available.

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Nokia’s Android One line up: the Nokia 6, Nokia 7 Plus, and Nokia 8 Sirocco

In addition, BQ recently previewed two Android One devices, the Aquaris X2 Pro and Aquaris X2, both committed to security and a great Android experience. General Mobile also unveiled their fifth Android One device, the GM8, which will be available in the coming months.

In the decade since the launch of Android, we have achieved amazing things due to the open nature of the platform and the vibrant ecosystem of partners. Looking ahead to the next 10 years, we’re committed to strengthening our partnerships to foster innovation, and bringing consistent and high-quality experiences to everyone.

We would also like to congratulate our existing partners on launching their latest flagship phones, including Samsung Galaxy S9, Sony Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact, at Mobile World Congress. Together with the new partners of Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One, Android will continue to offer great choice and diversity of devices that meet the needs of our users.


Android

The best of Android and Google with Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One

Monday kicks off Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—the mobile industry’s largest trade show. Our partners will be announcing amazing new Android devices, you’ll be able to see the growing industry momentum around RCS, and we’ll be showcasing the latest from Google including Google Assistant and Lens. Before the show gets underway, I want to take a moment to reflect on where Android is today and where it’s going.

Android

This fall marks 10 years since the release of the first Android device. Back in 2008, building software for mobile devices was pretty hard. Development was highly fragmented and resource intensive, and there was very limited compatibility across phones. Android began with a bold idea: to solve this problem with a new, open platform that would give mobile developers access to uniform tools and give customers a customized experience with the best mobile technology available.

Today, Android powers more than 2 billion active devices from 1,300 brands across 24,000 unique products. The platform has thrived because of our commitment to openness and the vibrant ecosystem of manufacturers, developers, mobile operators and component suppliers. And together with our partners, many of which you’ll see next week at MWC, we want to continue to push the boundaries of hardware and software to bring you new amazing experiences and capabilities.

Android has achieved unprecedented scale in just 10 years, but there are new markets emerging where consistency in experience is becoming even more important. With that in mind, we want to share an update on Android Oreo (Go edition) and Android One, two programs that help people know exactly what they can expect when they pick up an Android device.

Android Oreo (Go edition): Delivering on our core values of access and experience

We’re inspired by the success of Android across a wide range of devices, including entry-level phones which in many cases are the first and only way people get access to the internet. These devices need to be affordable, and the experience needs to be great. We don’t just want to provide people with access—we also want to provide a useful, high-quality experience.

Last year we introduced Android Oreo (Go edition), an optimized version of Android Oreo tailored for smartphones with 1GB of RAM or less. With a smaller amount of storage and processing power, these phones are less expensive for manufacturers to produce and can be sold at affordable prices, in some cases less than $ 50. With Android Oreo (Go edition), these phones are able to provide a high-quality experience, with the latest version of Android, Google Play Protect, and dedicated areas in Google Play highlighting apps optimized for Go edition. Android Oreo (Go edition) phones also include a set of apps from Google that are designed to use less memory and storage space, but still offer excellent experiences. For example, Google Go is built specifically to help new smartphone users find the information they want, YouTube Go is optimized for limited connectivity, and the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition) lets people quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more with their voice and a single touch of the screen.

Starting next week, you’ll see the first set of Android Oreo (Go edition) phones, and soon after they’ll be available for you to purchase.

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Android One: Smart, secure, and simply amazing

While the openness of Android means manufacturers have the flexibility to offer unique experiences, we know people want some reassurance about what they can expect when they buy a device. That’s why we introduced Android One, a program aimed at providing people with three key things: faster access to the latest Android OS updates and Google innovations, regular security updates, and an easy-to-use software design that’s intuitive and streamlined.

Android One combines Google’s latest software and services with beautifully designed hardware from top partners. With an Android One phones, you can expect:

  • Faster access to Android OS updates for two years, including the latest AI innovations from Google;
  • Amongst the most secure devices in the ecosystem with regular security updates for three years and Google Play Protect built in;
  • A simple, streamlined interface that includes the best of Google services including YouTube, the Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Photos and more; 
  • Performance-tested hardware so you can pick the right device for your needs and know that it will deliver a best-in-class experience for years to come.

We’re excited about the progress we’ve made with Android One in recent months, and at MWC you’ll see news from our partners about some great new Android One devices.

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Android wouldn’t be what it is today without our partners. With Android Oreo (Go edition) providing a high-quality Google and Android experience at lower prices and Android One delivering the latest from Android and Google, we’re excited to see what amazing things the next 10 years of Android will bring.


Android

Partnering with the mobile industry to connect people and businesses with RCS

We’ve been partnering with the mobile industry to improve the messaging experience on Android with RCS (Rich Communication Services), bringing more enhanced features to the standard messaging experience on mobile devices. As of today, we are working with 43 carriers and device manufacturers to bring better native messaging to every Android user.

Rich messaging for brands

Last year we created an Early Access Program to make it easier for brands to start participating in RCS business messaging (the mobile industry’s term for rich business-to-consumer messages). Today companies across food, travel, retail and delivery services in the U.S. and Mexico are starting to have better conversations with their customers using RCS as part of our Early Access Program.

With RCS, businesses can send more useful and interactive messages to their customers. This means, for example, that a retailer can send beautiful images of their products, rather than a text message, and even let the customer select and buy something, all without leaving the messaging app. Best of all, customers who have already opted in to SMS messages from a business get this upgraded experience automatically in Android Messages.

In the U.S., we’ve collaborated with Sprint to enable campaigns with 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel and Subway, among others, along with messaging partners 3C, CM.com, Mobivity, OpenMarket, Smooch and Twilio. We’re also working with Telcel to bring campaigns to Mexico soon with 5 Piso, Broxel, DHL Mexico and Secretaria de Salud along with messaging partners Airmovil, Auronix, Aldeamo and Tiaxa.

In the coming months alongside our partners, we’ll bring RCS messaging to businesses in more regions. And next week at Mobile World Congress, our partners will demonstrate how businesses can change the way they engage mobile customers using RCS.

RCS messaging growth in 2017 across Europe and Latin America

To help make RCS truly universal and give Android users a consistent and familiar experience with access to all that RCS messaging offers, we’ve been working closely with carriers and device makers around the world.

Over the past year, carriers across Europe, North America and Latin America including America Movil, AT&T in Mexico, Celcom Axiata Berhad, Freedom Mobile, Oi, Telia Company and Telefonica joined Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, Orange, Rogers Communications, Sprint and Telenor Group in their commitment to launch RCS messaging, powered by the Jibe RCS cloud from Google.They will also preload Android Messages as the default messaging app for their subscribers. Vodafone Group RCS service also supports Android Messages and has already launched across 10 of its 14 RCS markets globally. All carriers are committed to interconnecting through the Jibe RCS Hub to bring RCS messaging to users across networks. Collectively, they represent more than 1.8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide.

To bring better default messaging to hundreds of millions of users, device manufacturers including TCL/Alcatel/Blackberry, Transsion, BLU, Positivo, Multilaser, Mobiwire, Azumi, and Essential are joining Huawei, LG, Archos, BQ, Cherry Mobile, Condor, Fly, General Mobile, HMD Global – Home of Nokia Phones, HTC, Kyocera, Lanix, Lava, Micromax, Motorola, MyPhone, QMobile, Sony Mobile, Symphony, Vodafone, Wiko, ZTE, along with Pixel and Android One devices in preloading Android Messages as the the default messaging app on their new devices.

We’re excited to see Android Messages and RCS connect more people and businesses, and look forward to expanding our collaboration with the industry to bring better messaging to every Android user.


Android

Say hello to a better way to pay, by Google

Fast, simple checkout. Easy access to rewards and offers. One spot for purchases, passes, and payment methods. All of these are ways we’ve been working to make paying safer and easier for everyone, everywhere. And you can make the most of these features with the new Google Pay app for Android.

The app, which begins rolling out today, is just one part of everything we’ve got planned. We’re currently working on bringing Google Pay to all Google products, so whether you’re shopping on Chrome or with your Assistant, you’ll have a consistent checkout experience using the cards saved to your Google Account. We’re also working with partners online and in stores, so you’ll see Google Pay on sites, in apps, and at your favorite places around the world.

As we continue to expand to even more devices and services, the new app offers an exciting glimpse of what’s to come. Here’s a closer look.

Helpful info while you shop

Google Pay’s new Home tab gives you the info you need, right when you need it. See your recent purchases, find nearby stores, enjoy easy access to rewards, and get helpful tips.

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A new spot for your stuff

The Cards tab is an easy way to keep everything you need at checkout organized and at the ready. It’s where you’ll store your credit and debit cards, loyalty programs, offers, and even that stack of gift cards from last year’s birthday.

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A faster way to pay your fare

Use Google Pay on transit in cities such as Kiev, London, and Portland (with more coming soon), and stop worrying about your pass once and for all. Now all you need at the turnstile is the device that’s already in your hand. 

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Google security and encryption

Like all Google products, Google Pay comes with strong security protections to safeguard your account and personal data from security threats. In other words, it’s got your back.

All your favorite features

Longtime Android Pay fans, fear not: the features you love aren’t going away. You’ll still get all your bank’s perks and protections, plus an extra layer of security, since Google Pay doesn’t share your actual card number when you pay in stores. And those online payment forms that take forever to fill out? Just choose Google Pay at checkout and pay with a few quick clicks instead.

And more features are coming. If you live in the U.S. or the UK, you’ll be able to use it to send and request money within the next few months. In the meantime, the Wallet app is now called Google Pay Send, and we’re giving it a fresh coat of paint to go with the Google Pay brand.

Want to accept Google Pay for your app, site or business? If you’re a developer, you can work with our processor partners and find all the tools you need on our developer site. And if you’re a business owner building a site for yourself, we’ve partnered with Shopify to make integration even easier.

Ready to try the Google Pay app? Get it on Google Play today.


Android

Tap. Pay. Yes! Android Pay welcomes Chase and more

Update September 13: We’re pleased to add that Natwest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Ulster Bank are all launching on Android Pay in the U.K. today, with TSB coming soon!

Android Pay helps millions of people pay for things simply and securely with their Android smartphones. We’ve expanded to the U.K., Singapore and Australia and added hundreds of new banks, enabling people to tap to pay at millions of stores — and in hundreds of apps, including recent order-ahead newcomers: Domino’s in Australia, hungryhouse in the U.K. and Grubhub and Seamless in the U.S.

Today, we’re excited to share some updates.

More banks in the U.S. and U.K.

Chase
It’s with great delight that we welcome Chase, one of the largest banks in the U.S., to the Android Pay family. Starting today, Android Chase customers can add their eligible Chase Visa cards like Freedom, Slate, Sapphire, United Mileage Explorer and Hyatt Credit Card to Android Pay. Customers will be able to enjoy the same benefits and protections they’re used to getting with their Chase card – while making contactless purchases in stores and apps. You can learn more about how to get started with Chase and Android Pay here, and see a full list of all the banks supported in the U.S.

And across the pond in the U.K., Santander and TSB customers and more will soon be able to add their cards to Android Pay. This rollout will start over the coming weeks – you can follow @Android on Twitter to find out exactly when.

More value from your favorite merchants

We’ve also been working closely with our merchant partners to streamline the checkout experience and increase the value people get from Android Pay.

At Walgreens, we recently integrated their Balance Rewards loyalty program with Android Pay at more than 8,100 locations nationwide. Now, with just two taps at checkout, Walgreens customers paying with Android Pay can enjoy savings, earn and redeem loyalty points, and pay for their purchases. And there’s no need to even open the app – it’s smart enough to know when to pull up a customer’s Balance Rewards card and when to pay. We’re also thrilled to partner with Dunkin’ Donuts and Chili’s, who will both be integrating their loyalty programs with Android Pay in the coming months.

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Groupon.com mobile checkout experience on Chrome coming soon

With Uber, we’re excited to be the first mobile wallet to deeply integrate with their newPayment Rewards program, which allows users to unlock timely discounts. Starting today through October 15, all Android Pay users in the U.S. can enjoy 50% off 10 Uber rides.* No codes, no hassle – just use Android Pay on Uber to get your discounted rides.

More checkouts made simple

We’re moving beyond mobile apps and bringing the simplicity and security of Android Pay onto the mobile web. Users will soon be able to speed through mobile checkout on Chrome using Android Pay on sites like Groupon.com, 1-800-Flowers.com and many more to come. Just like in stores and in apps, Android Pay does not share actual account numbers with merchants, so users can shop online with confidence, knowing that Android Pay keeps their card number secure.

We’re looking forward to bringing Android Pay to more countries, more banks, and more of your favorite stores, sites, and apps. Stay tuned for more updates soon.

*Merchant terms apply


Android

How we stop fraudulent apps from holding you ransom

Recently we shared our 2016 Android Security Year in Review, which looks at how we protect Android users and their data. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how we shield people from a rare—but particularly disruptive—potentially harmful app (PHA) known as ransomware. We’ve long had protections from ransomware in Android, and we added new ones in Nougat as well.

Ransomware is a type of app that restricts access to your device until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware usually presents itself in one of two forms: apps that restrict access to your device and then demand payment to regain access to the device, or apps that encrypt data on the device’s external storage (such as an SD card) and then demand payment to decrypt your data. To make the scam more convincing, fraudsters sometimes pretend to be from a credible law enforcement agency and accuse you of doing something illegal so you’re more likely to pay.

Although ransomware has begun to target mobile devices, it’s still rare: Since 2015, less than 0.00001 percent of installations from Google Play, and less than .01 percent of installations from sources other  than Google Play, were categorized as ransomware.  (That’s less than the odds of getting struck by lightning twice in your lifetime!).

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Some examples of popular ransomware

And Android users have long been protected from ransomware. Our Google Play policies strictly prohibit apps that contain it, and if we ever detect these scams, we rapidly take action. Verify Apps, our security system that analyzes apps before they are installed and then regularly checks more than 400 million devices and 6 billion apps everyday for PHAs, is another safeguard. And Application Sandboxing, a technology that forces each app to operate independently of others, provides another layer of defense. Sandboxes require apps to mutually consent to sharing data, a protection which limits ransomware’s ability to access sensitive information like a contact list from another app.

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Ransomware protections in Android Nougat

With the release of Android 7.0 Nougat, we added to existing defenses against ransomware, and also made some changes to address some of the newer tactics of ransomware scams. Here are a few examples:

  • Safety blinders: Apps can no longer see which other apps are active. That means scammy ones can’t see what other apps are doing—and can’t inform their attacks based on activity.
  • Even stronger locks: If you set a lockscreen PIN prior to installing ransomware, ransomware can’t misuse your device’s permissions to change your PIN and lock you out.
  • Whacking clickjacking: “Clickjacking” tricks people into clicking something, often by obscuring permission dialogs behind other windows. You’re now protected from ransomware attacks that use this tactic to sneakily gain control of a device.

Protecting your data and device from ransomware

Even with all the safeguards we’ve built into Android and Google Play to protect you from ransomware, there are still a few things that you can do to keep your device safe.

  1. Only download apps from a trustworthy source, such as Google Play.
  2. Ensure Verify Apps is enabled.
  3. Install security updates and always ensure your device is updated to the latest version to get the best security protection.
  4. Back up your device.
  5. Be cautious. Take a moment to read reviews and other information about apps before installing, to make sure you download the app you’re looking for.

If you accidentally install ransomware on your phone, you have a few options. First, you can try to boot into safe mode. Starting your device in safe mode means your device only has the original software and apps that came with it. If an app is misbehaving but the issues go away in safe mode, the problem is probably caused by a third-party app downloaded on your device. If you can boot into safe mode, try to uninstall the app and then reboot the device. On a Pixel, you can get into safe mode with a keyboard combination that PHAs can’t touch.

If safe mode doesn’t work, then you might have to reset your phone to factory settings. Many devices running Android allow you to remove dangerous apps by resetting it to factory settings (also referred to as formatting the device, or doing a “hard reset”). This should be your last resort, but if you’ve backed up your files, resetting your device should be easy. Check with your carrier or device manufacturer for instructions on how to reset your phone.

Ransomware on Android is exceedingly rare. Still, we’ve implemented lots of new protections in Nougat, and we continue to improve on the defenses that have long been in place. Those protections, along with extra vigilance about how you download your apps, will help keep you and your device secure.


Android

Huawei to integrate Android Messages across their Android smartphone portfolio

Over the coming months, Huawei will make it even easier for hundreds of millions of people to express themselves via mobile messaging by integrating Android Messages, powered by RCS, across their Android smartphone portfolio.

With Android Messages and RCS messaging, Huawei devices will now offer a richer native messaging and communications experience. Features such as texting over Wi-Fi, rich media sharing, group chats, and typing indicators will now be a default part of the device. Messages from businesses will also be upgraded on Huawei’s devices through RCS business messaging. And Huawei users will be able to make video calls directly from Android Messages through carrier ViLTE and Google Duo.

In addition, to help carriers accelerate deployment of RCS messaging across their networks, we’re collaborating with Huawei to offer the Jibe RCS cloud and hub solution to current and prospective carrier partners, as part of an integrated solution with Huawei’s current infrastructure. This will enable a faster process for RCS services so more subscribers can get access to RCS messaging.

Huawei will begin integrating Android Messages across their portfolio in the coming months. For more information, see the following release.

Android

New devices and more: what’s in store for the Google Assistant this year

The Google Assistant is your personal Google. It lets you have a conversation and ask about everything under the sun and, best of all, it’s available wherever you need help—at home or on the go. Over the past year, we’ve been working to bring the Assistant to more devices in more places and now it’s available on more than 400 million devices.

Tomorrow marks the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV, and we’ll be there to showcase some of the exciting stuff we have in store for 2018. So if you’re at CES, stop on by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-21). Here we go!

At home

The Google Assistant gives you an easy, hands-free way to control your home, whether it’s helping you dim the lights from the comfort of your couch or play your dinner party playlist. It’s already lending a helping hand in speakers like Google Home, Mini and Max. In fact, we’ve sold more than one Google Home every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October. And with so much excitement around speakers, we’re making the Assistant even more available—this week we’re announcing that the Assistant is coming to new voice-activated speakers from Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio and SōLIS.

But there are also moments when a screen would make the Assistant even more helpful, like when you need to learn how to cut a pineapple, and the best way is to watch a video. Today, we’re announcing that the Assistant is coming to smart displays. These new devices have the Google Assistant built in, and with the added benefit of a touch screen, they can help you get even more done. You can watch videos from YouTube, video call with Google Duo, find photos from Google Photos and more. You can also get recommendations for your favorite content, right on the home screen.

Starting later this year, the Assistant is coming to new smart displays from four companies, including JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. To learn more about how smart displays were built, visit the Android Developers blog.

Last year we brought the Assistant to Android TV devices including NVIDIA’s SHIELD TV and Sony’s Android TVs, so you can find the latest blockbuster, stock up on snacks with Google Express and set the perfect movie watching mood lighting. We will continue to roll out the Assistant to existing Android TVs such as AirTV Player, Bouygues Telecom, LG U+, TCL, Skyworth and Xiaomi. And, this week, Changhong, Element, Funai, Haier, Hisense and Westinghouse are announcing new Android TVs with the Google Assistant. Plus, we’ve worked closely with LG to integrate the Assistant into the new line of LG TVs in the coming months.

And, across all your devices, the Google Assistant is making your home even smarter. The Assistant now works with over 225 home control brands and more than 1,500 devices, including a bunch of new ones from Abode, Crestron, Gourmia, Insteon, Kohler and Yonomi. With these integrations, millions of new smart home devices are being connected to the Assistant every month, so you can stay in control, whether you want to heat up the house, check on the laundry or make sure you locked the back door.

On your phone and headphones

The Google Assistant is available on your Android phone, iPhone, and headphones, helping you when you’re on the go. And this week we’re announcing that over the coming year, more headphones are on the way from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony. These headphones are optimized for the Google Assistant; once you pair them to your phone, you can talk to the Assistant instantly with just the touch of an earbud, whether you want to skip a track to hear the next song, get notifications, or hear and respond to your messages.

In your car

The Assistant can also help you in the car, so that you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Starting this week in the U.S., the Assistant is coming to Android Auto.

Android Auto is available in tens of millions of cars on more than 400 models from 40+ brands, including Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo. With the Assistant in Android Auto, you can listen to your playlists from apps like Spotify or Google Play Music, get quick directions from Google Maps or Waze, and send or receive messages from services like WhatsApp. And soon, you’ll be able to reserve a parking space with SpotHero or order your favorite handcrafted drink or food from Starbucks—all from the road.

You can use the Assistant in Android Auto on your car display by connecting your Android phone to a supported car—or you can use it on your phone screen in any car. And we’re working with auto makers to integrate the Assistant directly into their cars—no phone required.

With the Assistant on your phone, speaker or TV, you can also check your fuel level, lock doors, and more. This feature is already available on cars from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai—and today we’re announcing that it’ll be coming to cars from Kia and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Always ready to help

Since the Assistant can do so many things, we’re introducing a new way to talk about them. We’re calling them Actions. Actions include features built by Google—like directions on Google Maps—and those that come from developers, publishers and other third parties, like working out with Fitbit Coach. So finding photos with Google Photos would be one Action while meditating with Headspace would be another. All in all, today there are more than a million Actions you can take with your Assistant.

To help you discover the Actions available on the Assistant, we have a new directory page. You can also explore them with your Assistant on your Android phone or iPhone —just go to your Assistant, select the blue icon in the corner and dive in. And we bet you’ll find a few gems you never knew the Assistant could do. And the best part? We’re always adding more Actions.

That’s our news for the day. We’re just a few days into the new year and continuing to make the Assistant more helpful and more available, no matter what device you’re using. We can’t wait to see what you do with the Assistant this year.

Android

Introducing Android Oreo (Go edition) with the release of Android 8.1

Since Android’s creation, our mission has been to bring the power of computing to everyone. As a global operating system, Android has grown to more than 2 billion active devices around the world, with more users in India than the U.S.

To make sure billions more people can get access to computing, it’s important that entry-level devices are fully functioning smartphones that can browse the web and use apps. At Google I/O this year, we gave an early look at a project we called “Android Go” to make this possible. We’re excited to announce that this software experience—Android Oreo (Go edition)—is ready, and launching as a part of the Android 8.1 release tomorrow.

Android Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of memory will come with the all the Go optimizations. This Android Oreo (Go edition) experience is made up of three key components:

  • 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.

Go big with faster performance, more storage, data management, and security

We enhanced Android Oreo (Go edition) for speed and reliability on entry-level devices, which means the average app is now 15 percent faster on devices running Android Oreo (Go edition). There are many of these kinds of optimizations—and they really add up. If all entry level Android devices launched apps 15 percent faster, that would save the world a cumulative one million hours of time—every day!

It’s common for entry level devices to have very little storage space available once you account for the size of the OS and the preinstalled apps. This can be frustrating for people who want more space for their music, apps, and photos. So, we’ve optimized Android Oreo (Go edition) and enhanced our preinstalled Google apps to take up 50 percent less space. The net result is that we’ve doubled the amount of available storage on entry-level devices.

Android Go storage savings

Devices running Android Oreo (Go edition) also come with Google’s data saver features turned on by default. For example, Data Saver in Chrome saves the average user more than 600MB of data per year. You can also manage which apps can use background data with our built-in data saver feature, giving you more control over how your data is used.

Android Oreo is the most secure version of Android yet, so when you buy an Android Oreo (Go edition) device, you’ll be getting all the same security features. And of course all devices with Android Oreo (Go edition) get Google Play Protect built-in. Google Play Protect continuously works to keep your device, data and apps safe. It scans your app installs, even when you’re offline, no matter where you downloaded them from.

Go with Google

We’ve redesigned many of our popular Google apps to address local needs. Preinstalled on Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, this set of optimized apps includes Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Google Play, Chrome, and the new Files Go app by Google.

With our new and reimagined Google apps, we’ve focused on making them not only smaller, but smooth and fast too. For example, Google Go—a new app to find the information you want—optimizes data by up to 40 percent, weighs less than 5MB in size, and makes it faster to find popular and trending information with a simple, tappable interface. And with the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition), you can quickly send messages, make calls, set alarms, and more with your voice and a single touch of the screen.

Our storage-saving features extend beyond the OS to a new file-management app by Google—Files Go—which helps you clean up space and stay organized. Whether it’s recommendations for removing spam, duplicate images or unused apps from your phone, Files Go is the perfect complement to the storage-maximizing features of Android Oreo (Go edition).

Go Play

Go Play

In the Play Store, you can download any app, and we’ve also created a new section that recommends popular apps that are tuned to run well on entry-level devices. 

We’ve have been thrilled to see that many of our partners are using our building for billions guidelines to either optimize their existing app or create a new app to run well on entry-level devices, in the hopes of bringing their experiences to billions of new smartphone users.

Ready. Set. Go.

With the launch of Android Oreo (Go edition) in Android 8.1, partners will soon be able to ship this new release on their entry-level devices around the world. We can’t wait for our partners’ devices to hit shelves in the coming months.

And if you’re a developer, let’s build for the next billion together.

Android

Keeping you safe with Google Play Protect

Whether you’re checking email for work, playing Pokémon Go with your kids or watching your favorite movie, confidence in the security of your device and data is important. And since day one, Android has been built with security in mind. As we’ve grown, so have our security services, which constantly protect the 2 billion active Android devices globally.

We know you want to be confident that your Android devices are safe and secure, which is why we are doubling down on our commitment to security. Today we introduced Google Play Protect—Google’s comprehensive security services for Android, providing powerful new protections and greater visibility into your device security. Play Protect is built into every device with Google Play, is always updating, and automatically takes action to keep your data and device safe, so you don’t have to lift a finger.

Peace of mind in the palm of your hand

With more than 50 billion apps scanned every day, our machine learning systems are always on the lookout for new risks, identifying potentially harmful apps and keeping them off your device or removing them. All Google Play apps go through a rigorous security analysis even before they’re published on the Play Store—and Play Protect warns you about bad apps that are downloaded from other sources too. Play Protect watches out for any app that might step out of line on your device, keeping you and every other Android user safe.

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Control within reach, even when your device isn’t

One of the biggest security risks you’re likely to face is simply losing your phone. To help in these times of need, we’re launching Find My Device as part of Google Play Protect. With Find My Device you can locate, ring, lock and erase your Android devices—phones, tablets, and even watches. This feature is built in and enabled on all devices; visit android.com/find or check out the app.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be rolling out these new features to your device. To learn more about Google Play Protect, check out our website or give Find My Device a spin.

Android