Google first announced the Android Go platform back in 2017 & this Android Go is a toned down version of Android. Since the launch of Android Go, we have seen brands like ZTE, Alcatel & even Nokia bringing Android Go smartphones with very low-end hardware, running the latest version of Android. But, does the overall concept for Android Go makes sense? If yes then Why ? Well, first we need to understand the purpose of Android Go.
What is Android Go ?
Android Go is a toned down version of Android that is focused towards lower-priced smartphones that are equipped with low-res Displays alongside lower-end SOCs with less RAM & Storage capacities.
The ultimate goal here is to deliver the latest OS to offer a great user experience on devices that have less powerful hardware. Alongside, Google claim that they can keep upto 2x more storage free compared to a non Android Go device which can be helpful for devices that are short on storage capacities. For example, if a regular Android OS allocates 8GB of Internal Storage on a device, the Android Go version for the same should allocate somewhere around 4GB. Though, these values are not always the exact in real life scenarios.
Android Go also comes with it’s own go version of the Google Apps like Gmail Go, Maps Go, Assistant Go & more. Google says that, these apps are 50% smaller in size compared to their regular versions. Also, third party app developers are also making lighter version off their apps to work with the Android Go platform.
So, overall it looks like a pretty compelling idea for those low-budget smartphones & their buyers, maybe people who are just getting their first smartphone. However, as exiting the Android Go initiative looks, it kinda don’t make sense when we get into the actual smartphones which are running on the platform. So, let’s talk about Android Go smartphones now.
Android Go Powered Smartphones
Most of the Android Go phones available right now, are equipped with a 480P to 720P Display, either 512MB or 1GB RAM, 8GB or 16GB of Internal Storage & some lower-end Quadcore SOC to power it.
Some of the first Android Go powered smartphones came from Alcatel & ZTE. The Alcatel 1x was powered by the Mediatek MT6739 & 1 Gigabytes of RAM & 16GB of Internal Storage with an 18:9 480P Display while the ZTE Tempo Go offered a 16:9 480P Display with a Snapdragon 210, 1GB RAM & 8GB of Internal Storage. Even Nokia made an Android Go powered smartphone called the Nokia 1 that had a 16:9 480P Display, Mediatek MT6737M, 1GB RAM & 8GB Internal Storage.
ASUS tried to up their game a little bit and released the ASUS Zenfone Live (L1) which has an 18:9 720P Display, a Snapdragon 425, 1GB RAM & 16GB Internal Storage.
However, it must be noted that all of these devices are actually running Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition. So that’s literally it, the latest version of Android optimized for lower-end hardware.
Do The Android Go Smartphones Really Make Any Sense?
The idea of having Android Go is not bad but, the Android Go smartphones that are coming out are kinda unnecessary at this point. In most of the cases, the users who are using lower-end phones already are facing the issues that Android Go is capable of omitting. So, Google should have pushed their partners to roll out the Android Go OS into their already existing lower-end smartphones through which, the users could have been benefited already.
But, instead we’re getting these new Android Go smartphones that might not be very high on price but, also not beneficial to the the majority of lower-end smartphone users. Yes, it be an option for those who are migrating from a feature phone to a smartphone but, that wasn’t really the goal of Android Go.
Another thing is lower usability of the toned down applications for Android Go. No, I’m not just talking about third party applications but, I’m talking about Google’s own apps as well.
Take the above image for example. If you want to navigate in Google Maps, you can’t do that in the Maps Go application & instead it’ll show you an option to go to the Play Store page of Google Maps and install the full version to be able to do that.
And yes, you can install regular Android apps in Android Go smartphones. But, if you need the full version of some apps to get the much needed functionalities then how are you going to save that precious space anyway ? Also, that 1GB of RAM won’t be enough when you’ll attempt even a little bit of multitasking even though Android Go is a 32-bit OS.
So, though Android Go actually was a good idea but, it would have been nice if it was made available to older low-end devices & the apps could have delivered at least all the features that users need in their daily life. Yes, the apps should improve in the near future but, there is really no confirmation on how much they’ll improve. The new Android Go smartphones that are coming out right now, well there’s not much to like about them & I really don’t think that you should invest your money even if they cost around that $100 price range. These phones really don’t make much sense right now. Save your money & get something a little better.