ZTE has launched the first ever Android Go phone in the US, ushering in a new wave of cheap, yet well-optimized smartphones in the country. The “ZTE Tempo GO” will cost only $80 and will showcase the newest version of Android in action for the first time in the US.
Although Android Go was made available through other companies too such as Nokia, they never really targeted the US in particular. This is why ZTE’s launch is so significant. Not everyone in the US, or any part of the world for that matter, wants a high-specced phone which can do lots of things. Some people just want a phone for basic communication purposes alongside internet facilities.
Furthermore, not everyone can afford an expensive phone. Smartphones have come a long way in just a few years, however, so have the prices. In order to cater to the “budget market”, Google came up with Android Go.
What is Android Go?
Android Go is a lightweight version of Android optimized for low-end devices. This version of Android is made to drive the cost of Android phones significantly in order to cater to the people with lower budgets. It’s not that different to the original Android, in fact, both are built on the same foundations.
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Android Go, however, is a better optimized, more stable version of the two and it’s more suitable for underpowered devices. As mentioned, the two versions of Android are very similar, as this one also runs on the latest Android OS, Android 8.1 Oreo. The Go version of the OS has several data management features allowing users to closely monitor data usage.
All Android Go devices come with Google Play Protect which uses machine learning to check for malicious apps on your phone. It also constantly scans your phone for viruses, even for apps that aren’t downloaded through the PlayStore in order to make sure the phone doesn’t get infected with a virus.
It has its own set of apps
Since Android Go is meant to run on underpowered phones (phones with less than 1 GB RAM), obviously the regular Android apps won’t perform so great on it. Therefore, it comes with its own set of optimized apps. Many of the apps are lightweight versions of the existing apps in the regular version of the Android.
For example, Google Go lets you search the web just like the regular Google app but the install size for the Go version is only a fraction of the original. Another example is the Google Assistant Go. The Assistant app is a newer Go app that was recently released for the PlayStore. Unlike the Google Go app, there are some things that the assistant app can’t do compared to the original assistant. Some of the things the Go version isn’t able to do include setting reminders and control smart home gadgets, however, it does allow you to set alarms, send texts, open apps, ask questions, and much more.
Most of the apps have more or less the same functionality as the non-go versions of the apps. The Gboard has all the features the regular stock Android keyboard would offer. Youtube Go lets people watch youtube videos and even download them for offline viewing just like the regular Youtube app. Moreover, users can share videos with each other without the need for a data connection. The lightweight apps alongside the built-in apps ensure for minimal or no bloatware, allowing users to get more available internal storage for their devices. The PlayStore on Go phones will also recommend apps that will work best with your device.
ZTE Tempo Go specs
The ZTE Tempo Go makes use of the Android Go firmware, which in fact, is more up to date than many flagship Android phones out there. As you’d expect from an Android Go device, the specifications aren’t that spectacular. The phone has a 1.1 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 and has 1 GB of RAM and only 8 GB of storage. It also has a 5-inch screen with 854×480 FWVGA resolution.
Since Android Go phones are meant to be budget friendly, the specs don’t come as a surprise. This is particularly reflected upon with the phone’s camera as it features a low-end 5 MP rear camera and only 2 MP at the front. However, the phone’s price makes up for it as it’s ridiculously low. The phone costs only $80 and it provides users with basic necessities and more.
The ZTE Go phone is significant because it’s the only Go phone available in the US. Whether or not the phone is a success in the country depends on how many people look for a basic phone in the US. The phone would be more successful in countries like India or Pakistan where budgets are low. Google is aiming to make phones available for as low as $30 which would make it much easier for people to buy basic Android phones.
Google has shown through Android Go phones that it’s definitely possible to make semi-decent Android phones below $100. Moreover, the optimization the Go phones have is astounding. The ZTE Tempo Go has the same apps as a regular Android phone would have, but with half the size. The Go versions of these apps also perform better.
If you’re a user of the regular Android phone, you can still try out the Go apps by downloading them from the PlayStore. As for what’s next with the release of Android Go phones, the possibilities are endless. The main aspect of Android go is the superior level of optimization. Therefore, if the same level of optimization could be applied to regular Android devices, then high-specced devices could become much better than they already are.
If a greater level of optimization is achieved, then there won’t be a need to increase power in phones, which would drive down the costs of phones significantly. The only thing left to improve upon each upgrade would perhaps only be the camera. If its possible to make lightweight, highly optimized versions of apps for underpowered devices, then its also possible for higher-end devices to get highly optimized apps of their own.
We’ve already seen this level of optimization in Apple devices. Whether Android is able to do it depends on many factors, such as the large variety of devices with different specifications. However, the Android Go is a step in the right direction, the future looks bright for Android users.