It has been more than 10 years for Android to be in existence and there are approximately 2 billion monthly active users who used the device is powered by Android.
We can say please say that Android is the most popular operating system on the planet.
But even then there is a lot of confusion among people regarding Android since it has been adopted by different OEMs who create Android devices of different flavors.
There are terms like stock Android Android one and Android go that have been floating in the market, and creates more thing fusion then helping the users pick the best Android device for them.
In this article, let’s find what each of the terms means. And how different they are from one another
What is Stock Android?
You may have come across this term often. Google has a premium lineup of Pixel smartphones which is based on stock Android.
As the name suggests, stock Android is the Android operating system in its purest form. Which means there is a no adulteration in its course and user interface and the setup features offered natively by the Android update.
Not only it has cleanest user interface there are a lot of other states having a stock Android on a device.
When the Stock Android on Pixel smartphones comes directly from Google, the new software version of Android can be shipped out to the new devices when it is released.
Which is unlikely the case with different OEMs like Samsung, LG, Huawei. Most of these OEMs take the Android Operating System (which is an open source project) into their labs and then put some extra software development in action.
This enables them to make their Smartphones unique and different from others.
This might be good for the mobile phone manufacturers but for the consumers, it would mean that their smartphone would come with a lot of bloatware that they wouldn’t be otherwise using.
The OEMs try to cover a large demographic by introducing a lot of bloatware apps into their mobile phones.
It can cater to a larger group and it could be a good thing to care about their customers, but not everyone would be using all the apps these it smartphone manufactures would be forcefully putting into the smartphones.
And this is where the stock Android scores a point because you can start with the bare minimum and install the app you want to use from the Google Play Store.
When it comes to Stock Android vs Custom Skins by OEMs, the Android in the group is already divided. Some feel that stock Android is best while others think the custom schemes offered by OEMs actually in hands is the Android experience on a smartphone.
So we are not going to take sides and would just be defining the stock Android for you, and that’s what we have done.
What is Android One?
The Android one actually came into existence in 2014, around 6 years after Android.
The purpose of introducing Android one was to get the lower end smartphones on the latest version of Android and reduce the Android fragmentation.
If you don’t know about Android fragmentation, it means all the Android devices in the market having different versions of Android, thanks for delayed development of Customs Android Skins from different OEMs.
Since the OEMs want to bring uniqueness to their smartphones, they bring their own software on top of Android on their smartphones but fail to incorporate it whenever there is a new version of Android available.
Generally, the smartphones from these OEMs receive Android updates for the next two years or so, but if the consumer keeps using the phone for longer than two years.
It results in Android Fragmentation, which is sometimes Apple makes fun of since most of their devices (even the 4 or 5 years older devices) get the latest software update.
Mostly used to happen with the lower end phones, and the purpose of having Android one was to solve this problem.
If an OEM an app for Android one for their low-end phones, Google will take care of the software development part and it will be easier for the OEMs to push updates.
The Android one was a Win-Win situation for both Google as well as the mobile phone manufacturers. As the manufacturer will be able to do what they are best at, that is, building the hardware, and let Google take care of what they are good at, which is software.
Even though Android is free since it is an open source software the Android one is more like a paid service. Google is taking the burden off the shoulders of the manufacturers.
What is Android Go then?
There is a bigger confusion among users for Android One and Android Go than the Stock Android.
It is because both the Android One and Android Go aim to get the latest software on the low-end hardware.
Android Go maybe more like Android One, but it’s a more refined and well-thought version of Android for low-end devices.
Google has already introduced lite versions of their popular apps, such as YouTube Go, Maps Go, Gmail Go, which is aimed to give a smoother experience to users having low-end devices.
Android Go is a packed form of it for low-end devices, which has all the ‘Lite’ version of apps Pre-installed on phones.
The Other major difference is Android one Google doesn’t directly push updates to the Android go devices. it sends it to the OEMs, who will then develop it according to their phones and then send the update.
This makes the release cycle a little longer, which is not there for both the Stock Android as well as the Android One, but the fact that it has Lite versions of the apps menu Android Go can actually be used on even the lowest of smartphone hardware.
So, while Android One and Android Go both are for low-end smartphones, the Android Go is for even low-end hardware and is mainly built for developing countries.
Why Google has different versions of its own OS?
Other mobile phone manufacturers may be using Google software to power their smartphones, they are also competing with it by offering different versions of Apps and Services Google makes advertising revenue from, or at least it wants to dominate it.
By introducing a stripped down version of their pure Android make Google reach more users to get them to use their other services like Google Search, YouTube, etc.
Over the years, Google has kind of streamlined their approach, by keeping the Stock Android just for their own lineup of Smartphones, the Pixel Series, which offers a near perfect Android experience.
Android One is going to be for Mid to Low-end smartphones with a minimum number of features stripped down from Stock Android.
And, the Android Go is going to be for the Low-end phones in developing countries aiming to get people to use other Google services.
I hope this makes the confusion clear as to what is Stock Android or, Android One, or Android Go.