TECH BREAK: Let’s talk about Android Go

Saturday June 09 2018

Google's Android Go is an extremely light version of the Android operating system based on the Android Oreo, and it is tailor-made for super budget smartphones. PHOTO | FILE | AFP


Smartphones keep getting more powerful processors and bigger RAMs due to the growing demand in what consumers expect them to do, which is great. But sadly, this means that prices will have to be hiked, so much that even regular folks may find it arduous to get a decent performing smartphone at an affordable price. 

Which is where Android Go comes in. It is an extremely light version of the Android operating system based on the Android Oreo, tailor-made for super budget smartphones. 

This edition of android is designed to run very light, such that even devices running on 1GB of RAM, which would ordinarily be disastrous in terms of speed, feel fluid.

Google manages to do this by stripping down unnecessary Apps and as a result, the entire operating system takes up less than 2GBs of internal memory on a device. This would ordinarily take up close to, or even more than, 10GBs on devices running a conventional Android operating systems. 

With this advantage on its side, the Android Go is able to leave the user a huge chunk of internal storage to use for other Apps and media storage. This means that manufacturers are able to make devices with less internal memory, RAM and less powerful processors, lowering the manufacturing costs and in turn the selling price. 

This is what makes the Android One such a perfect OS for entry-level smartphones.


The Google Apps in this version have also been tailor-made to optimize the limited resources in low cost devices. These include Maps Go, Files GO, Google Assistant Go, Gmail Go and, my personal favourite, YouTube Go. 

Conventional versions of these Apps would ordinarily take up a lot of smartphone resources (RAM, Internal Storage & CPU), making a low spec device very laggy and barely usable. But thanks to the Go Edition, the experience is quite smooth, more than I expected when I tried it out on the Nokia 1, to be honest. 

Besides extra security features like the Google Play Protect, which keeps the smartphone Apps and data safe, Google has teamed up with App developers to provide Android Go users with a reliable suite of Apps in the Play Store. 

It is important to note that Non-Go Edition Apps can also be installed on this OS but bear in mind the specs on the device.

A small tip – if your conventional Android OS device is feeling a little rusty performance wise, try installing Go Edition Apps on Play Store and Lite versions of Apps you want, if available. 

Another aspect central to the Android Go is data savings. Lighter Apps guarantee minimal data usage and with the built-in data manager, users are able to stay in control of their mobile data. 

Devices running this version are currently available in the Kenyan market at reasonably affordable prices. The Nokia One I reviewed last month is a good example but you have more options like the itel A32F going for Sh7,000, the Tecno F1 going for Sh6,200 and the Tecno Spark 2, which will be launched next week and will come with an Android Go variant.