Android Go: what is it and on which phones is it running?

10 min read

Android Go, also known as Android (Go edition), is one stripped down version of Android designed to run on entry level smartphones. It consists of three optimized areas the operating system, Google Play Store and Google apps that have been redesigned to offer a better experience on lesser hardware.

Android Go operating system

The Android Go operating system is based on the regular version of Android, but it is optimized for use on smartphones with 512 MB to 1 GB RAM. The first version of Android Go was modeled on Android Oreo, but the latest version is based on Android Pie. Android Go phones receive updates, just like regular Android phones; we expect an Android Q Go edition to appear in the future.

Android Go takes up less space than the normal Android version, so smartphones with little storage have the breathing space to keep more media and apps out of the package most Android Go smartphones come with 8 or 16 GB storage.

Devices with Android Go are also said to be able to open apps 15 percent faster than if they were to use normal Android software. In addition, Google has enabled the "data security" feature for Android Go users by default to help them use less mobile data.


Android Go apps

Just like the operating system, 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, which are listed below:

Keep in mind that these apps are slimmer and faster, but one or two functions may be missing. For example, you cannot set reminders or manage smart home devices with Assistant Go, but you can do most other standard things, such as setting alarms, opening apps and asking different questions.

It is worth noting that in the near future we can expect many other Android Go optimized apps. Developers can already start creating apps for the operating system using Google's Building for Billions development guidelines.

what is Android going

Android Go Play Store

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

The Android Go Play Store offers the same content as the regular Play Store, only the store is more suitable for devices with a low storage capacity. It includes a recommended apps section that recommends apps specifically for Android Go handsets, pointing users in the direction of apps that benefit them the most.

what is Android going

What is the use of Android Go?

The demand for smartphones in emerging markets such as India is increasing. Google expects its next billion users to come from these countries, where 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, offer more storage space and help reduce data usage.

It sounds like a brilliant plan on paper, because it allows Google to increase the number of users of its apps and services. However, software is only part of the comparison. The company must get as many hardware partners on board as possible that will flood the market with smartphones, which must not only be affordable but also instantaneous. Let's face it, nobody wants an ugly smartphone.

A few options are already available on the market, which we will review below. But before we do this, watch our short & # 39; Android Go: A promising start & # 39; video below to learn even more about Google & # 39; s Go initiative.

Best Android Go smartphones

We saw the first batch of Android Go devices on MWC 2018. Six smartphones were announced at the show, including the Alcatel 1X and Nokia 1. Since then, many more Android Go devices have been announced by companies such as Samsung, Motorola and Xiaomi. We will not mention them all in this post, but we will show you a handful of the best.

Nokia 1 Plus

A Nokia 1 Plus photo. One of the best Android Go phones available.

The Nokia 1 Plus has the same style as the original Nokia 1 – one of the original best Android Go phones – but contains a number of important upgrades.

The screen is an inch larger, now 5.45 inches with a screen-to-body ratio of 75 percent (the ratio of Nokia 1 to body was closer to 60 percent), while the chipset is faster and the camera & # 39; s on the front and back are superior. The Nokia 1 Plus also comes with a storage option of 16 GB, while the original was closed with 8 GB.

These are not necessarily flashy improvements, but they are well-off improvements in key areas.

The black Nokia 1 Plus currently costs 99.00 euros (~ $ 111) on Amazon in Europe and £ 79.99 in the UK, but is not yet available in India. The original Nokia 1, which can now be upgraded to Android Pie, sells on Amazon India for 3,977 rupees (~ $ 578) if you want a cheap alternative.

Buy on Amazon

Nokia 1 Plus specifications

  • 5.45-inch IPS LCD screen with 480 x 960 resolution, ~ 197ppi, 18: 9 ratio
  • Mediatek MT6739WW chipset (quad core)
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB or 16 GB of storage, microSD extension to 128 GB
  • 8MP camera on the back, 5MP camera on the front
  • Non-removable 2500 mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie (Go edition)
  • 145 x 70.4 x 8.6 mm, 138 g

Nokia 2.1

The highlight of the Nokia 2.1 is the battery that is supplied at 4,000mAh, with which the device with this Galaxy Note 9 and the Huawei P20 Pro connects best to this department. The phone has a simple design expected in this price range and sports a 5.5-inch screen. Like most other Android Go phones out there, it comes with just 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage space, which can be expanded for an additional 128 GB with a microSD card.

The Nokia 2.1 was announced in May and is available in India, Europe and a large number of other regions. You can get it for around 5,400 rupees (~ $ 79) or 96 euros.

Specifications of Nokia 2.1

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1,280 x 720, 267ppi
  • Snapdragon 425 chipset
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB of storage space, microSD extension to 128 GB
  • 8MP camera on the back, 5MP camera on the front
  • Non-removable battery of 4000 mAh
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition)
  • 153.6 x 77.6 x 9.7 mm, 174 g

Samsung Galaxy J4 Core

Three images of the Samsung Galaxy J4 Core in black, blue and gold.

The Galaxy J4 Core was announced in November 2018 and is the second Android Go device from Samsung. It has a 6-inch HD + screen and an aspect ratio of 18.5: 9, just like the company's premium handsets. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 425 chipset, comes with 1 GB of RAM and offers 16 GB of expandable storage.

The Galaxy J4 Core is available in three colors – black, blue and gold – and has a beautiful design with a curved back and relatively thin edges. It is not officially released in the US, but you can still get the international model (without warranty) on Amazon for around $ 155.

Galaxy J4 Core specs

  • 6.0-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1.480 x 720, 274ppi
  • Snapdragon 425 chipset
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16 GB storage, expandable via microSD up to 512 GB
  • 8MP camera on the back, 5MP camera on the front
  • 3,300 mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition)
  • 160.6 x 76.1 x 7.9 mm, 177 g

Samsung Galaxy A2 Core

A view of the Galaxy A2 Core. One of the best Android Go phones that you can buy.

Released April 2019, the A2 Core has typical Android Go-edition attributes such as a single front and rear camera (both on 5MP), 1GB RAM and 8GB storage, as well as a 5.0-inch 540 × 960-pixel display and 2,600 mAh battery.

It's a fairly standard set of features, but they help keep the price low, especially the three-year-old Exynos 7870 Octa chipset.

With 5,290 rupees (~ $ 77), the Galaxy A2 Core is not only one of the newest Android Go devices on the market, but also one of the cheapest.

Galaxy A2 Core specs

  • 5.0-inch PLS TFT screen with a resolution of 540 x 960, 220ppi
  • Exynos 7870 Octa chipset
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 or 16 GB storage, expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
  • 5MP camera on the back, 5MP camera on the front
  • 2,600 mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition)
  • 141.6 x 71 x 9.1 mm, 142 g

Huawei Y5 Lite (2018)

The Huawei Y5 2018 in a render with the front and back of the device.

Huawei & # 39; s Android Go device has a modern design considering the price. The edges are relatively thin, the screen has an aspect ratio of 18: 9 and the back looks minimalist with a nice camera module in the top left corner.

Like the rest of Android Go devices, it doesn't blow your socks off in the specifications departments, with a 5.45-inch display, the MediaTek MT6739 chipset and 1 GB of RAM.

The Y5 Lite (2018), or just Huawei Y5 2018 as it is called in some markets, was announced in December and is Huawei's second Android Go device. It is only available in certain regions, but you can get the international model on Amazon for $ 99.

Huawei Y5 Lite (2018) specs

  • 5.45-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1440 x 720
  • MediaTek MT6739 chipset
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16 GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
  • 8MP camera on the back, 5MP camera on the front
  • 3.020mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition)
  • 146.5 x 70.9 x 8.3 mm, 142 g

Moto E5 Play Go

In July 2018, Motorola announced the Android Go edition of the Moto E5 Play, aimed at Latin American and European markets.

The phone has the same specifications as the regular Moto E5 Play, with a few differences here and there. In addition to playing a stripped down version of Android, it also has a slightly larger screen (5.3 vs 5.2 inches), a different aspect ratio (18: 9 versus 16: 9) and 1 GB instead of 2 GB RAM.

The rest of the specifications are the same as the design. The phone is very affordable – like all other Android Go devices out there – in retail for only 99 euros (~ $ 111). You can get it in black.

Moto E5 Play Gochest muscles

  • 5.3-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 960 x 480, 184ppi
  • Snapdragon 425 chipset
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16 GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 256 GB
  • 8MP camera on the back, 5MP camera on the front
  • 2,100mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo (Go edition)
  • 148 x 71 x 9 mm, 145 g

Xiaomi Redmi Go

Xiaomi Redmi Go with start page

The Xiaomi Redmi Go is the first – and so far only – Android Go device is also one of the best Android Go phones you can buy.

It is an excellent choice for people looking for a compact phone because it has a 5-inch screen. You'll find the Snapdragon 425 chipset together with 1 GB of RAM under the hood, just like with many other Android Go devices. The device also has a 3000 mAh battery, 8 GB expandable storage and an 8 MP primary camera.

The biggest advantage over the competition is the price: it is currently available for 67.65 euros (~ $ 75) or 4,900 rupees.

Buy on Amazon

Xiaomi Redmi Go specifications

  • 5.0-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1,280 x 720, 294ppi
  • Snapdragon 425 chipset
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
  • 8MP camera on the back, 5MP camera on the front
  • 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition)
  • 140.4 x 70.1 x 8.4 mm, 137 g

These are some of the best Android Go smartphones that we have seen so far, although a number of others are also available. Which would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

Written by

Don Bradman

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