Android Go was first introduced by Google at I/O in May 2017, so it's been a long wait for real devices running the slimmed-down Oreo experience. We hoped Mobile World Congress in Barcelona would be when OEMs began launching Android Go phones, and this was confirmed by Google last week.
The first ultra-low-cost phones with 1GB or less of RAM running Android Oreo (Go Edition) have been announced here at MWC. Let's take a look at what's on offer so far.
HMD Global made the surprising announcement that all of its Nokia-branded phones going forward will be either Android One or Android Go devices. That's great news for consumers as they'll be able to get the smoothest, most secure install of the OS across a range of different price points.
|Display||4.5” FWVGA IPS (854x480)|
|Processor||MediaTek MT6737M (Quad Core 1.1GHz)|
|Storage||8GB (MicroSD expandable up to 128GB)|
|Rear Camera||5MP with LED Flash|
At the lowest-end, there's the Nokia 1 with Android Go. It will cost a mere $85, and unlike other Go Edition phones, it will have practically no extra apps installed, outside of Nokia's camera app. Like HMD's other recent releases, the Nokia 1 will have the purest form of Android, and that should translate to the best possible performance. Specs-wise, the Nokia 1 has a 4.5" FWVGA IPS display, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of storage, all run by a MediaTek MT6737M chip.
Alcatel was first to the Android Go punch when it unveiled the 1X. It's also got a quad-core MediaTek SoC, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage – so it's not all that different from other budget phones already on the market. The screen is 5.3" with a resolution of 960x480, and like the Nokia 1, there's no fingerprint scanner.
|Display||5.3” IPS LCD (480x960), 18:9|
|Processor||MediaTek Mediatek MT6739 (Quad Core 1.3GHz)|
|Storage||16GB (MicroSD expandable up to 128GB)|
|Rear Camera||8MP with LED Flash and autofocus|
|Front Camera||5MP with LED Flash|
It runs Oreo though, unlike other super-cheap Android phones not part of the Go program. Hopefully, it won't be loaded up with too much crapware, although Google doesn't have complete control over that. I had a little hands-on time with the Alcatel 1X in Barcelona a couple of days ago, and I can report that it seemed...well, fine. Time will tell whether the experience will beat out other non-Go competitors after a period of actual use. The 1X will be available in April for €100 (about $122), or €110 for the dual-SIM version.
ZTE Tempo Go
Not wanting to feel left out, Chinese OEM ZTE also has an Android Go phone it wants to shout about. The Tempo Go has a basic Qualcomm 210 chip – not even worthy of the Snapdragon name – as well as 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. It's got a low-resolution 5" display and a paltry 5MP camera on the back. But it will only cost $80, so you get what you pay for.
General Mobile, Micromax, and Lava
Android Go phones from other manufacturers were on show here at MWC, but with less fanfare (i.e. no official announcements). The following devices are displayed at Google's stand:
- GM 8 Go from Turkish OEM General Mobile has a 5.5" HD+ IPS display with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
- Micromax Bharat Go with a 4.5" FWVGA LCD panel, 1GB RAM, and 8GB ROM will be available in India.
- Lava Z50, also for the Indian market, boasts another 4.5" 4.5" FWVGA LCD display with 1GB RAM/8GB ROM.
More to come...
According to Google's blog post, more Android Go devices will soon be available from other OEMs. Apparently, Huawei will be getting involved with the program, launching a Go device in all major emerging markets. Similarly, Chinese company Transsion will be releasing Go Edition phones via a number of its subbrands – such as TECNO, itel, and Spice – in various regions, including across Africa. We'll have to wait to find out more about those devices, but it's clear the Go initiative is going to have a number of further launches in 2018.