Android One. Android Go. Stock Android. Stumped? What’s the difference between the three you will ask? After all, they are the versions of Android, call Google their ‘daddy,’ and have a few common sibling characteristics. Well…yes and no.
Of course, they all originate from Google and have a few common elements, but that’s where the similarities end. There are some big differences in the way in which the open source software is used in all the versions by the smartphone makers. Plus, there is also the deal with how security updates are released, pre-installed apps, and more.
We’ve dedicated a whole post to clear up the confusion between all three.
Android One came in 2014. Google announced the Android One program for low to mid-range smartphones that run stock Android software to offer emerging countries affordable access to the Android devices as well as the internet. But over the years, it has grown to include higher-end devices across the globe, such as Moto X4 and the latest Xiaomi A1, which is coming with pre-installed apps.
The whole idea with Google’s Android One push was to offer software development services to manufacturers. There are a couple of phone makers who are very good at building hardware, marketing and have solid retail experience, but they lack the skills required to create software. The deal offered was that these makers push Android One on their devices and Google will continue to send updates and security patches for an agreed period directly to the devices.
It’s not known whether it’s a free or paid service since it involves the use of open source, which is of course, free. Even if the search giant doesn’t charge a fee to OEMs, the indirect benefits of the program are huge as more users on Android means more traffic to its search engines and apps.
So far, it’s been a jolly ride as Google takes the headache of the core OS software while the makers ensure software enhancements. Popular OEMs like Nokia, Motorola, Xiaomi, as well as more are already on board!
Android Go is the younger sibling that came in 2017. It was entrusted with the task of managing only the low-end devices. To prevent sibling rivalry, Google took the Android One program and asked the younger one to create its own niche. So, Android Go took it upon itself to start small with lesser pre-installed apps. To offer smooth functionalities, it has ‘lite’ or ‘Go’ versions of Google apps, like Maps Go and Gmail Go, which run smoothly on low-end devices.
While the daddy, ‘Google’ offered goodies to all when the first child entered the market, for the second sibling, there was minimal support. Android One came directly from Google, but Android Go is sent to an OEM like Nokia, which releases it to the devices. This means a slight delay for the users as Google will first send it to Nokia and then Nokia will push it. No wonder, it hasn’t been popular in developed countries.
If we talk about the first human on the earth, we think of him/her as absolutely pure as there weren’t other humans around to corrupt. It’s the same with Stock Android. It’s as Google intended – vanilla or pure Android like Google Pixel. Usually, with all devices that are shipped running on Android One or Android Go, some level of enhancement is done. You must know Samsung Experience, HTC Sense, EMUI (Huawei), and OxygenOS (OnePlus), to name a few. These are skins added by the device manufacturers on top of Android One or Go to change the look and feel as well as add new features.
But, stock Android is the most basic and unmodified version of Android, meaning device manufacturers have installed it as it is. So, you get only the basic features developed by Google. This version is still popular with many users as if you’ve it; you will be the first to get latest versions of OS. The initial version of Android One, too was like Stock Android.
Less memory utilization is another advantage stock Android user will have as the device doesn’t have pre-installed apps by the phone maker. Let’s admit it – there are so many apps on our phones that we don’t use. If you need something, you can always install it from the Play Store, rather than having to bear with all the unused apps. Stock Android devices also make for great storage as you can install apps as per your wish; plus, their minimalist design is cool, clean, and quite simple to use.
There you are, all sorted. Have you tried a device with any one or all of these Android versions? We’re eager to know about your experience. Tell us in the comments below.