Google releases Gmail Go app for low-memory Android devices

Gmail Go is now available exclusively for Android Go devices, and offers many of the same app features optimized for Google's low-footprint mobile OS.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Google has released its Gmail app for Android Go, its low-memory Android build for entry-level smartphones.
  • Gmail Go has the same features as the standard Gmail app, which reflect the way Google has described Android Go: It's a full-featured Android experience with unnecessary elements removed.

Google has released Gmail Go, its mail client for low-memory Android devices.

Designed for Android smartphones with between 512 MB and 1 GB of RAM, Android Go and its compatible Google apps have lower-memory footprints and system requirements to make use smooth on affordable, low-end devices.

Android Go was made available to OEMs with the release of Android 8.1 in December 2017, and can be found on entry-level devices around the world, most predominantly in India, where the majority of Android users with access to low-memory devices are located.

Business users seeking low-end phones for traveling can make use of Android Go and Gmail Go as well, and are sure to be happy that the native Android Gmail client will be available to them there too.

Gmail Go: The same features, smaller package

Compare the Gmail and Gmail Go Google Play store pages and you'll notice very few differences aside from copy changes.

Screenshots of the two apps are practically identical (see below), and and the app descriptions don't let anything slip about functional differences: Both have categorized inboxes, 15 GB of cloud storage, spam filtering, and multiple account support.


Gmail for Android, left, and Gmail Go for Android Go, right.

Image: Google

The biggest difference between the two, aside from the fact that you have to tell Gmail Go to load images (which it doesn't do on default to save space and data), is the install size. Android Community said Gmail Go only has a 9.51 MB download size and a 25 MB on-device size, while the full Android version of Gmail has a 20.66 MB download size and 47 MB on-device size once installed.

SEE: Mobile device computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

As our sister site ZDNet points out, Google hasn't revealed many other features about Gmail Go's availability or features, but based on the Google Play pages for it and the standard Gmail app, the functional differences will be negligible.

Few user-facing differences is likely Google's goal with Android Go, which it calls "the best of Android, built with new and reimagined apps." The low-footprint Android Go isn't meant to provide a different experience, but to extend functionality to a larger range of devices.

That's good news for business travelers as well—no one wants to worry about losing familiar, often work-essential, smartphone features while traveling abroad. If Gmail Go is any indicator that likely won't be the case—you'll just get a stripped down, less visually exciting version of Android that functions the way you're used to.

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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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