Android Go, also known as Android Oreo (Go edition), is a stripped-down version of Android designed to run on entry-level smartphones. It’s comprised of three optimized areas — the operating system, Google Play Store, and Google apps  which have been reimagined to provide a better experience on lesser hardware.

Operating system

The operating system is based on Android Oreo, but it’s optimized to run on smartphones with 512 MB to 1 GB of RAM. It takes up roughly half the space of Android Nougat, giving smartphones with low storage the breathing room to hold more media and apps out of the box  most Android Go smartphones come with 8 or 16 GB of storage.

Devices running Android Go are said to open apps 15 percent faster than previous Android software, although this is also the case with the regular version of Oreo. Additionally, Google has enabled the “data saver” feature for Android Go users by default to help them consume less mobile data.

what is android goGoogle

Apps

Like the OS, Google has also developed apps to make better use of the device’s memory. These require up to 50 percent less space and perform better on low-end hardware. Android Go smartphones come with only nine pre-installed apps, listed below:

Keep in mind that these apps may be slimmer and faster, but they might be missing a feature or two. For example, you can’t set reminders or control smart home devices with Assistant Go, but you can do most other standard things like set alarms, open apps, and ask various questions.

It’s worth noting that we can expect to see many other Android Go optimized apps in the near future. Developers can already start producing apps for the OS with the help of Google’s Building for Billions development guidelines.

what is android go

Play Store

Building a new OS and pre-installed apps package is a great start for Android Go, but what about when people begin using the device in the real world? To help users maintain their lightweight system they set out with, Android Go devices have access to an exclusive version of the Play Store.

The Android Go Play Store offers all of the same content as the regular Play Store, only the storefront is more suited to low-storage devices. It has a featured apps section that recommends apps specifically for Android Go handsets, pointing users in the direction of apps that will be of most benefit to them.

what is android go

What’s the point of Android Go?

Demand for smartphones in emerging markets like India is on the rise. Google expects its next billion users to come from these countries, where the purchasing power is lower than in the West. That’s why the company wants to provide them with a new generation of affordable, sub-$100 smartphones that work faster, provide more storage, and help reduce data consumption.

It sounds like a brilliant plan on paper, as it could allow Google to increase the number of users of its apps and services. However, software is only one part of the equation. The company has to get as many hardware partners as possible on board that will flood the market with smartphones, which will not only have to be affordable but also easy on the eyes. Let’s face it, no one wants an ugly smartphone.

A few options are already available on the market, which we’ll take a look at next. But before we do, check out our short “Android Go: A promising start” video below to learn even more about Google’s Go initiative.

Smartphones running Android Go

We saw the first batch of Android Go devices back at MWC 2018 in February. Six smartphones were announced, with arguably the most interesting one being the Alcatel 1X. ASUS also announced its participation in the Android Go program back at MWC and followed that up with the launch of the Zenfone Live L1, bringing the range to seven phones in total. Here’s a breakdown of the handsets.


Alcatel 1X

android GO smartphones - Alcatel 1X

Given the specifications limits set by Google, Android Go smartphones can’t do much to distinguish themselves from each other, except in terms of design. However, Alcatel still manages to do so with the 1X, with it being one of the few Android Go devices (so far) to feature a display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The specifications and features are also a touch better than what is standard fare for a Go smartphone.

The Alcatel 1X is the first Android Go smartphone to be available in the U.S., priced at $99. It will also be on sale in the U.K and the rest of Europe soon, and while it is slated to launch in India, no pricing or availability information is available yet. 

Specs

  • 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with 960 x 480 resolution
  • 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6739 processor
  • PowerVR GE8100 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • 8MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing camera
  • 2,460mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
  • 147.5 x 70.6 x 9.1mm, 151grams

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Nokia 1

android Go smartphones - Nokia 1

Nokia’s first Android Go smartphone is the Nokia 1. The specifications and the price point of the Nokia 1 are similar to every other device on this list. What Nokia does enjoy is a name recognition that will make it an easier buy for a lot of consumers.

The Nokia 1 is available in every major market across the globe, with the sole and surprising exception being the U.S. Depending on the market and currency conversion trends, the price of the Nokia 1 tends to fluctuate. For examples, it is priced at 4,728 rupees (~$70) in India and 79.99 Pounds in the U.K (~$105).  

Specs

  • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with 854 x 480 resolution
  • 1.1GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737M processor
  • Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • 5MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera
  • 2,150mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
  • 133.6 x 67.8 x 9.5mm

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General Mobile GM 8 Go

android Go smartphones - General Mobile GM 8 Go

The General Mobile GM 8 Go is an Android Go smartphone available in Turkey. This device actually boasts pretty impressive specs compared to the rest of the phones on the list, with a superior camera package, a larger and higher resolution display, and a much larger battery. The GM 8 Go also comes with a fingerprint scanner, which isn’t seen with any other phone on this list. Under the hood is still a quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM though.

Unsurprisingly, with the better features comes a higher price tag as well. The General Mobile GM 8 Go is priced at 899 Turkish Lira (~$192.5) on the General Mobile website and for 739.90 Lira (~$158) on Hepsiburada (a popular e-commerce website in Turkey). 

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1440 x 720 resolution
  • 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6739 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing camera
  • 3,500mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
  • 150 x 70.5 x 8.59mm, 152grams

Lava Z50

LAVA Z50 with Android Oreo (Go edition)

Following its announcement at MWC, the Lava Z50 was the first Android Go smartphone to be released in India. On the specifications side of things, the Z50 is more like the Nokia 1 than the GM 8 Go and comes with a price tag that is pretty close to the former as well. It does come with a slightly better front-facing camera when compared to the Nokia 1, but also with a battery that is smaller. The Lava Z50 is currently available for 4,399 rupees (~$65). 

Specs

  • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with 854 x 480 resolution
  • 1.1GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737M processor
  • Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 5MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing camera
  • 2,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
  • 135 x 66.6 x 9.7mm, 140grams

Micromax Bharat Go

android Go smartphones - Micromax Bharat Go

Micromax follows almost exactly in the footsteps of Lava with its own Android Go offering, the Micromax Bharat Go. The two devices feature identical specifications and are also priced the same. Apart from minor aesthetic differences, the only major difference between the two smartphones is that while the Lava Z50 is available from e-commerce sites online, the Micromax Bharat Go can only be bought from physical stores. The Micromax Bharat Go is also priced at 4,399 Rupees (~$65). 

Specs

  • 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with 854 x 480 resolution
  • 1.1GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737M processor
  • Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 5MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing camera
  • 2,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
  • 135 x 66.6 x 9.7mm, 140grams

ASUS Zenfone Live L1

android Go smartphones - ASUS Zenfone Live L1

ASUS announced its participation in the Android Go program back at MWC and followed that up with the launch of the Zenfone Live L1. The Zenfone Live L1 is actually at the higher end of the specifications spectrum as far as Android Go devices are concerned with its Qualcomm processor, impressive camera package, a large display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, and a large battery.  There is no fingerprint sensor, but ASUS does implement a Face Unlock feature as an added layer of security.

The final pricing information and availability of the Zenfone Live L1 are still unknown but can be expected to be around the $110 mark in the markets that the device is released in.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1440 x 720 resolution
  • 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6739 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 13MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing camera
  • 3,500mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
  • 150 x 70.5 x 8.59mm, 152grams

Huawei Y3 (2018)

Huawei Y3 2018 Huawei

As previously confirmed, Huawei took the wraps off of their Android Go smartphone in May. The Huawei Y3 (2018) was officially launched in South Africa and will also be available in other African markets soon. Whether the phone will be released in markets outside Africa is still unknown.

The Huawei Y3 (2018) comes with a price tag of 999 Rand (~$73), which is the same price as the Nokia 1 in the country. The Huawei device does have a couple of advantages over the Nokia phone though. It comes with a larger display, albeit with the same resolution, and features a better rear camera as well.

Specs

  • 5-inch IPS LCD display with 854 x 480 resolution
  • 1.1GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737M processor
  • Mali-T720MP2 GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • 8MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera
  • 2,280mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition)
  • 145.1 x 73.7 x 9.5mm, 175grams

These are all the Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Edition) smartphones that have been announced so far. Seven phones is definitely a good start, but there’s a lot more still to come. Android Go devices from Samsung, Meizu, and another from Alcatel are all reportedly in the works and should be released soon. We’ll continue to keep this list updated as more Android Go smartphones are announced! 


What are your thoughts on Android Go? Do you think Google’s plan to make entry-level smartphones more appealing will be successful? Let us know by posting a comment down below.

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