Google's "Go" app variants are a certified hit, even if a large portion of Android users can't actually use them. Gmail Go, the lighter and less resource-intensive version of Gmail designed for handsets running Android Go, has now secured at least half a billion downloads in the Play Store.
Back in November 2019, we reported Google Go passed 100 million downloads on the Play Store. That success was fueled both by the fact that the app is pre-installed on Android Go devices but also thanks to its data-saving approach, which helps millions of users around the world limit their data consumption. The app just passed 500 million installations on the Play Store, which confirms its global success.
HMD Global, with its Nokia brand, is one of the only mainstream companies that still offer Android Go smartphones. Further expanding its lineup is the latest Nokia 1.4, which brings a seemingly decent experience without costing an arm and a leg.
Google's Camera Go app for Android Go edition phones is picking up the ability to shoot in HDR. The feature extends the dynamic range of a scene with some fancy computationl processing and a few different exposures, capturing photos that show more detail in challenging lighting conditions.
Almost everybody uses essential Google apps like Gmail and YouTube, but not everyone has access to a high-end smartphone with top-of-the-line specs. To account for this, Google started creating "Go" versions of popular apps that are optimized to run on devices with less RAM and processing power. While a few of these apps are restricted to users with budget devices, Google decided that all Android users should be able to try out Gmail Go for themselves — at least for about 24 hours.
Google introduced Camera Go earlier this year as part of an effort to bring high-end photography to low-end devices. The app provides access to Google's AI-powered photography tricks while keeping the requirements for storage space and processing power at a minimum. Portrait mode was the main launch feature for Camera Go, and now it looks like another highly requested capability is coming: a dedicated Night Mode for shooting in low light.
The full-fat version of Android 11 landed just a couple of days back with a ton of under-the-hood improvements, some visual facelifts here and there, and new privacy options. Google is now porting a few of those features to Android 11 (Go edition) — the latest iteration of Android’s stripped-down version meant to run on entry-level hardware without hiccups.
There are a plethora of cheap, low-power phones (and some tablets) out there running Android Go, a specialized version of Android tailored to weaker hardware. Its use is not mandatory, though, so there are also plenty of devices that can feel less optimized and might shine a bad light on Android as a whole for those who have never owned another phone with the OS. It looks like Google wants to change that, as a leaked document shows that starting with Android 11, any device with less than 2GB of RAM wishing to ship with Google software must use the easily updatable, low-power Android Go version.
Even with a global pandemic going on, HMD Global has continued updating its (very) large portfolio of Nokia phones to Android 10. The Nokia 3.2, 4.2, 6.2, 8 Sirocco, and 2.3 have all received updates this month, and now the low-end Nokia 1 Plus is next in line.