Google initially announced the launch of Android Go, a modified version of Android specifically for low-end devices with 1GB or less of memory. Since then, Google has updated its main Android version and released Android 10 (Go version) last year, which has improved performance compared with Android 9 Pie (Go version).
Although devices with as little as 512MB of RAM to 1GB of RAM can run Android Go, Google has not forced manufacturers to pre-install Android Go in their devices.
Now, Google has quietly updated the content of the Android Go website, suggesting that the operating system is built for smartphones with “less than 2GB of memory”. Foreign media XDA-Developers has come into contact with a copy of the “Android 11 Go version device configuration guide”, which shows that Google is forcing the Android Go version for devices with less than 2GB of memory. The document is dated April 24, 2020.
Google documents pointed out that starting from the fourth quarter of 2020, all new “products” equipped with less than 2GB of memory and equipped with Android 11 or Android 10 must be released in the Android Go version. In addition, devices equipped with 512MB of memory are not eligible for upgrading to Android 11 because these devices are not eligible to run Google Mobile Services (GMS).
The following is an excerpt from the requirements document:
- Starting from Android 11, devices with 512MB of memory (including upgrades) are not eligible for pre-loading GMS.
- All new products released with Android 11 pre-installed (if they have 2GB or less memory) must return true for the ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice() API and be released as Android Go devices.
- Starting from the fourth quarter of 2020, all new products released with Android 10 (if they have 2GB or less memory) must return true for the ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice() API and be released as Android Go devices.
- Devices previously released with 2GB of memory in the standard GMS configuration do not need to be upgraded to the Android Go configuration. They will still maintain the standard Android system.
The changes made may improve the experience of low-end devices. In addition, this may also be due to improvements in the Android system that require at least 1GB of memory.