At the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the most prevalent hardware trend was the arrival of Android Go. But what is Android Go and how it is different from Android One and which mobiles are preparing to deploy it is what any Android users wish to know.
So what is Android Go
Android Go or known as ‘Android Oreo – Go Edition’ is an initiative by Google to offer a slimmed down, alternative version of their Android mobile operating system that’s been designed from the ground up to run better on smartphone with lower-specs. Specifically, it’s been designed to run on devices with 1GB of RAM or less.
The idea here is to try and erode the perception that cheap Android devices are synonymous with a cheap performance and a poor software experience. If you’re the kind of person who upgrades to the latest flagship device every year like clockwork, Android Go might not seem like such a big deal to you.
However, when you consider the role that emerging mass markets of Africa or South Asian countries where low-specced/low-price devices are more prolific are going to play when it comes to generating future growth in the smartphone market, Google’s efforts here make a lot of sense.
The difference between Android Go and Android One
Android Go is a successor to the goals set out by Google’s earlier Android One initiative, but by nature is a wholly separate project.
Launched in 2014, Android One was an initiative by Google to take a bit more care and control over the experience offered by vendors producing bottom-end Android handsets. As part of the programme, hardware vendors would agree to guarantee regular security, regular Android OS updates, base the out-of-box experience around just the core Android interface and Google’s own apps and only use hardware approved by Google.
Though Android One is a set of guidelines that allow Google to excise a degree of quality control on the experience offered by vendors that use their Android platform, Android Go is almost though not quite an entirely separate operating system.
Like Android One, Android Go gives Google a bit more control when it comes to curating the software experience offered by low-end Android handsets. It also loosens up the hardware restrictions that were previously placed on hardware vendors, making it theoretically easier to adopt.
- Android Oreo Go Edition can do pretty much everything that regular Android can do. It just starts in a different place. It features a redesigned set of G Suite apps that require up to 50% less storage space and are designed to perform better on low-end hardware than their regular Android counterparts.
- Android Go users also get access to a special version of the Play Store which, in addition to featuring all of the usual Android apps, has been tailored by Google to highlight software that will run better on Android Go hardware.
The drawback to use Android Go
Though at this early stage nothing can be said but the potential drawbacks that’ll come with the Android Go experience aren’t 100% clear. While squeezing better performance out of worse hardware sounds great, it’ll probably inevitably come with some caveats in other areas like functionality. These areas just haven’t become clear yet since no Android Go handsets have actually made their way to market.
Like Google have noted significant several changes that come with Android Go’s version of Chrome. The browsers Data Saver feature won’t work if you’re on secure pages, nor will it work in incognito mode. In addition, they say that some images in Chrome might look fuzzy and that sites that are restricted to certain groups, like your company’s internal sites or your mobile carriers’ website, might not load at all – which are some pretty not-insignificant details worth considering before you jump on board the Android Go hype train.
What devices will run on Android Go in Australia?
At this year’s Mobile World Congress, several devices running on Android Go: Oreo Edition were announced. Of those devices, two have been confirmed for the Australian market.
It runs on a MediaTek MT6737M chipset and features a 5-megapixel camera and a series of swappable Xpress-On covers. In Australia, the Nokia 1 will be available for an RRP of $149 with the device’s Xpress-on covers to be sold separately.
It’ll feature a a quad-core MT6739 processor, 16GB of on-board storage, a 2,460mAh battery, an 8-megapixel rear-mounted camera and your choice of either 1 or 2GB of RAM. Both these devices are expected to land locally sometime in 2018.
The ZTE Tempo Go phone just launched in the United States recently, delivering a pared down version of Google’s mobile operating system at a low price. It has a 5-inch screen, some pretty weak cameras, and a headphone jack and costs $80.
As Android Go phones are less powerful, they may require special, “lite” versions of apps. Google has its own suite, and its Android Go page touts Instagram and Skype Lite. In other words, while options may be relatively limited for Android Go users, you probably don’t have to worry too much about any fears if you pick one up.