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.
Released back in 2018 for the low, low price of just $85, the Nokia 1 has been one of the most affordable Android options on the market. In our review, we found that it maybe made a bit too many compromises to reach that price point, but one area that Nokia didn't compromise on is software updates. Despite being a sub-$100 phone from over two years ago, the Nokia 1 is now receiving an upgrade to Android 10.
Hot on the heels of the Nokia event that brought us the new Android Go-equipped Nokia 1.3, Google has taken the opportunity to talk about the new Camera Go pre-installed on that phone. Similar to other Go apps, it has been created with low-end hardware in mind while retaining some of the features that make Google's image processing so great.
We've only reported Google Go's 10 million download numbers last September, and today, the app has reached another milestone: it now boasts 100 million installs on the Play Store. Since it's pre-installed on all Android Go phones, this might indicate that Android Go is quite a successful endeavor for Google, as this would suggest that the amount of newly activated Go devices skyrocketed over the past half year.
The tech sector loves to talk about how the next billion smartphone users will come online. Google has backed one option, the feature phone-based KaiOS, as well as putting work into a modified version of its platform, Android Go edition. The company has been able to claim success with Go as over 80% of entry-level Android phone purchases in the last 18 months. Now, Google has given Android 10 its own Go edition, hoping to capitalize on recent performance improvements, feature additions, and size savings to its apps.
The race to smarten up a billion phones in rural, developing regions has seen some significant progress so far, most of it coming from KaiOS and Google's massive eight-digit backing into the voice-forward flip phone software suite. Recent rumors, though, have put Android as an double-blind alternative for feature phones. Now, we have our first moving vision of said concept.