You need to know how Android Oreo Go Edition is different from Android One

Google’s Android is no longer just the one version you see installed on the Google Pixel, the LG V30, the Galaxy S9, and hundreds of other phones. There are now three different primary versions, the latest being Android Oreo Go Edition. It’s a version of the operating system this time designed for basic, cheap phones. You may be thinking, “Isn’t that the same as Android One?”

Despite initial outward appearances, it’s not. We’ve talked to Google to get the complete story on what Android Go is, how it has changed Android One, and the main differences between the two. It’s important if you’re weighing up which version to have on your next phone.

The basics

Google describes Android Oreo Go Edition as, “A new experience for smartphones with 1GB of RAM or less,” and is fine tuned for devices with specific hardware configurations. Google envisages most of these devices costing less than $100. It still comes with the Google Play Store installed, but it pushes apps designed for Go, or those that operate best on it, to the forefront. You can still install all regular Android apps though, so there are no restrictions in place.

There’s a suite of Go Edition apps installed, including special versions of Google Maps, Google Assistant, Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube. The Files Go app helps organize internal storage, which is a key to optimizing Android Go’s performance and usability. The Go Edition apps, along with Android Go itself, take up less space on the phone. Most Android Go Edition phones will have 8GB of internal space, yet even with the entire operating system and pre-installed apps onboard, the models we saw still had more than 5GB of space available. Android Go also has a data manager to control network usage, comes with Google Play Protect to stay secure, and the promise of software updates in the future.

Isn’t that Android One?

No, Android One is different. We spoke to Google’s Global Marketing Lead for Android Go, Merrill Anovick, to find out how.

“Android One is our partner program,” he said, which means Google chooses who it collaborates with, and has more influence over what goes on the device.

Plus, there are specific requirements partners must meet to release an Android One phone. Remember, these phones have the Android One logo on them, tying them more closely to the company and brand, making Google very protective. These requirements include committing to regular security and version updates, and adhering to pre-loaded app rules, thus limiting the amount of apps that can be installed by carriers or manufacturers.

Android Oreo Go
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Android Go allows for more flexibility from partners to customize Go Edition devices, unlike Android One. Android Go phones do not have any Google-related branding on the body. While there is still a limit to the amount of apps that can be pre-loaded on Go phones, it’s mostly restricted by the device’s storage requirements. Google wants phones to have available space out of the box, and has spent time creating Go to take up less space. However, you can expect more pre-installed apps on a Go Edition phone than you’ll find on Android One.

Additionally, any company or carrier can use Android Go, and decide where phones go on sale. Google’s letting the manufacturers decide where Go phones are needed, rather than suggest markets where they should launch, as it did initially with Android One. This means they will be available in many markets, including the U.S. Because Android One phones now come in at a higher price point, we’ll see these more in traditional markets, where Google expects it to gain momentum in the future. We’re seeing this already, with HMD Global adopting Android One for its latest Nokia phones.

How about software updates? Google says it plans to offer ‘Go edition’ versions of future Android releases. Android One will receive version updates for two years, and security updates for three years. The way they’re delivered is also different. Updates to Android Go will be provided by the manufacturers, like regular Android phones, so they decide schedule and rollout. Android One’s faster and more comprehensive updates are part of the Android One agreement manufacturers make with Google.

Android One is more representative of how Google wants Android treated, but it is not so restrictive with Android Go.

What’s the advantage of Go?

While Android One looks to have most of the advantages, Android Go Edition phones do have a distinct benefit. It gives manufactures the chance to release a cheap phone with the latest version of the software, rather than making do with an aging version, as a large percentage do now. That means the most up-to-date security and software out of the box, and provided updates do arrive in a relatively swift fashion, less fragmentation in a section of the market that’s affected worst.

Google has six Android Go Edition phones on display at Mobile World Congress, made by Nokia, Alcatel, General Mobile, ZTE, Lava, and Micromax. More devices from other manufactures are spread around the show’s halls, and even now Google is unsure of the total amount of devices launching — showing the level of adoption so early on in the program.

The good news is Android Go Edition won’t be limited to certain markets, and the ZTE Tempo Go will be sold in the U.S. We expect more to follow in the future.

Product Review

Nokia’s 3.1 Plus is an affordable phone that’s crippled by its camera

The Nokia 3.1 Plus is HMD Global’s first smartphone to be sold by a U.S. carrier in-store. It’s only available on Cricket Wireless right now, which underlines its focus on affordability. Should you buy a phone this affordable?
Mobile

Short on phone storage? Here's how to delete apps in Android

With everything we tend to use our phones for, it is all too easy to let your Android device get filled up with apps. Time for a clean out? Then check out our simple guide on how to uninstall apps in Android.
Mobile

The Moto G4 Plus is finally getting the update to Android Oreo

We've reached out to every major Android hardware manufacturer and asked them when they will update their devices to the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 8.0 Oreo.
Mobile

Forgot your Android password or PIN? Here’s what you need to do

It’s a horrible feeling when you forget your Android password, PIN, or pattern and can’t access your smartphone. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to gain access to your device. Find out what your options are right here.
Mobile

Find the best table this Valentine’s Day with these restaurant reservation apps

With the many distractions of modern life, it's far too easy to forget to book yourself a table for Valentine's Day or otherwise. Here are the best restaurant reservation apps for iOS and Android to make it easy.
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.
Mobile

Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.
Mobile

North Focals smartglasses discount cuts the price by a massive $400

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in late 2018, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto and has made its first shipment.
Mobile

New Apple patent hints clamshell-style foldable phone may be in the works

Apple has filed a patent for a foldable phone that suggests the company could be following in the footsteps of the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The patent describes a clamshell-style foldable phone with two separate sections.
Mobile

Xiaomi Mi 9 will be one of the first phones with monster Snapdragon 855 chip

Xiaomi's next major smartphone release will be the Mi 9, and the company hasn't held back in giving us a good look at the phone, revealing the design, the camera, and a stunning color.
Wearables

Galaxy Watch Active isn't official yet, but you can see it in Samsung's own app

Samsung may be about to resurrect its Sport line of smartwatches under a new name: The Galaxy Watch Sport Active. Leaks and rumors are building our picture of the device at the moment.
Mobile

Stop buying old tablets, says Samsung, buy the new Galaxy Tab S5e instead

Samsung has launched the Galaxy Tab S5e -- the E is for Essential -- a reasonably priced tablet that includes many of the features we like from the Tab A 10.5, and the Tab S4. Here's what you need to know.