23 July 2020
Google is reportedly considering making certain changes to the Android Go program. It is looking to make it compulsory for all Android devices featuring 2GB of RAM or less to be released and marketed as Android Go devices. It will be the first time that Google will be forcing brands to launch their phones under the program branding.
This major change has been spotted by XDA Developers folks in the Android 11 Go edition Device Configuration Guide document dated April 24th, 2020. In the current situation, Android Go is meant for devices with up to 1GB RAM but it is not a requirement. It is up to smartphone makers whether to make use of the program name or skip it.
The change will be applicable for all future devices that will be released starting Q4 2020 i.e October 2020. All devices that will go official before the mentioned timeline will be free to follow current guidelines. The internal document that we mentioned above lists a few more changes that can be checked below:
- Beginning with Android 11, devices with 512MB RAM (including upgrades) are not qualified for preloading GMS.
- All new PRODUCTS launching with Android 11, if they have 2GB RAM or less, MUST return true for ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice() API, and launch as an Android Go device.
- Starting in Q4 2020, all new PRODUCTS launching with Android 10, if they have 2GB RAM or less, MUST return true for ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice() API, and launch as an Android Go device.
- Previously launched 2GB RAM devices in standard GMS configuration SHOULD NOT convert to Android Go configuration via MRs or letter upgrades. They will remain standard Android
These changes should improve the performance situation for low-end Android devices. We have seen OEMs release devices with up to 2GB RAM quite often. They are priced quite cheap but it is the performance that does not exactly fulfill the expectations. With a compulsory Android Go operating system and specialized apps, users should get relatively faster and smoother performance.