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Android One, Android Go, Android Stock and Android AOSP: what they are and how they differ.

BySigismondo Eisenhower 2019-08-23 664

We will discuss the differences between Android Stock, Android One, Android Go and Android AOSP. The different versions of the operating system that you can find on your device. If you tend to frequent specialised pages, you may have heard of these terms without fully understanding the difference, and that is what we are going to try to clarify in the simplest possible way.

Android One,

Main differences between versions

Before starting to delve into the features of each of the Android versions, let's briefly summarize the main differences between them. Then you have them all sorted and explained in a single paragraph.

Android AOSP: Android as you know it is composed of several pieces, and the main of them is the AOSP version. It is the basic free and open code of Android, with the Linux Kernel and the different essential libraries, but then needs the services controlled by Google to become Android as you know it. It doesn't have access to Google's services, like the app store, but it's a starting point from which they drink some basic ROMs.

Android Stock: It's the Android everyone knows. Manufacturers are free to modify it with their customization layers to adapt it to the experiences they want to offer or add new features, although some prefer to leave it clean and almost without customizing it. It is updated by the manufacturers.

Android One: A version of Android in which Google forces manufacturers who want to use it to add almost no customization, so it's the closest you can get to pure Android. Manufacturers are responsible for updating it, but having less customization usually takes less time to release the updates.

Android Go: A version of Android designed to work on the lowest range phones, the one that has less than 1 GB of RAM. Use adapted applications to consume less, and manufacturers are not allowed to add any customization. In fact, it's Google itself that takes care of the updates.

What is Android AOSP?

Android AOSP (Android Open Source Project) is the essential and minimum base of Android, and from which the rest of Android versions are developed. Its code is open and anyone can access it, so you don't need anyone's permission to create an operating system from it, although if you stay in the AOSP version without meeting other requirements, you won't be able to access the rest of Android stock elements such as the app store.

AOSP is composed by multiple levels; the Linux Kernel, the different libraries up to more superficial layers like the download manager or the notification panel. AOSP also has basic applications such as a browser, an alarm or a photo application. But instead of updating these open versions, Google has created its own alternatives and uploaded them to Google Play.

To understand the difference between Android AOSP and the other versions you have to try not to think of Android as an operating system in itself, but as a multi-layered mobile platform. The first would be the base, Android AOSP, but then you would have other layers on top like Google Mobile Services and Google Apps. While the AOSP base is open, the rest of the components belong directly to Google and remain under its

What is Android stock?

The stock version of Android is what we might consider the normal one, the one that was born as an independent project bought by Google, and the one that is still being developed so that any manufacturer can work from it. It is therefore the one you can find in most devices.

This version of Android is made up of the AOSP base, but other elements and APIs controlled directly by Google are added, as well as services such as the Google Play Store or basic applications that have to be on all devices because it is dictated by Google, such as YouTube or Google Maps.

Its main feature is that it allows the manufacturer to place customizations on top, such as customization layers that modify the look and feel of Android or its options. If you buy a Huawei phone, you will see that its appearance is different to one of Sony, LG or Samsung, because starting from the same Android stock, each manufacturer has placed its layer of customization to modify it as more convenient create.

There are also cases where manufacturers perform such an aggressive customization of Android that it almost looks like a new operating system. These types of derivative systems are considered fork, but it's not really any different operating system but a very personalized Android stock. There are also manufacturers who decide to install it almost without customizations, the decision is up to each of them.

In either case, all manufacturers have to start from Android's open base, and have passed Google's certification to use its basic applications, services known as Google Mobile Services. From then on, everyone can add their own experiences.

Within Android stock we can also find Google Pixel phones. Pixels have exclusive customizations on Android just like all other phones, so even if it's from Google it's still a personalized version of Android that differs from the rest of Android stock versions.

The normal Android version has hardly any limitations. It can be installed in all types of configurations, it can be extremely customized or not, and it is maintained by the manufacturer of the phone itself. Google provides the system and each builder adapts it to its own way and speed. This way of working part of the big problem of Android, although not really big: the fragmentation of versions. Project Trebble was born to soften this.

What is Android One?

Android One is a program that Google launched in 2014. Initially the program was born to try to make a version that could run more smoothly on devices with less power, and for that made use of an almost pure Android. Over time, the focus has shifted to offering this pure Android.

With an almost pure Android we mean that this version is practically not customized by the manufacturers. In fact, Google forces manufacturers who want to join this program to hardly touch to provide a clean experience, as if you only had the Android Stock but without adding any layer of customization.

And why is this of interest to many users? Because there are two types of Android users: those who like the customization layers of manufacturers and those who prefer Android to be almost untouched. This program, therefore, makes seconds happy and makes it easier for mobiles to go a little faster.

Another advantage of Android One is that it usually takes less time to receive new versions of Android. Updates still depend on the manufacturers, Google still provides the original code and each builder adapts it. But because there are fewer adjustments and aspects of the system to be upgraded by manufacturers because there is almost no customization, it usually takes less time to have the upgrade optimized.

This means that the update rate of Android One phones is considerably higher than that of Android stock phones with their respective personalization layer. This helps users take less time to receive the news that Google is integrating each year in new versions of its operating system.

As for its internal workings, like the stock version, Android One also has the AOSP base and Google Mobile Services, so you can access the Android app store and download exactly the same applications as the other devices.

What is Android Go?

Android Go arrived in 2017 and has become Google's big bet to offer its operating system for low-powered phones. It is intended for low end phones, those so low that you may not be in the market because they are focused on emerging countries, and have for example less than 1 GB of RAM.

We could say that Android Go is Google's answer to the operating systems that are now used in feature phones or mobile phones of all life, as in the case of the YunOS that came aboard the new Nokia 3310. Thus, Google aspires to adhere these simpler phones to its ecosystem, and to improve the user experience on them to encourage Android to continue to expand.

In the case of these devices, Google does not allow for layers or customizations of any kind, since they want to control the experience to ensure that they can be used on these mobiles with few resources. Therefore, Android Go comes to be like a totally pure Android, although not suitable for most phones.

Internally, it also has the AOSP base and Google Mobile Services, but another element that makes it different is that it has its own set of specially adapted applications. For them, Google has been developing a suite of alternative applications that are also called Go, such as Google Go or YouTube Go, and that base their experience on a minimum consumption of resources and data, both mobile and via WiFi.

There is also another fundamental difference with the other versions of Android, and that is that Google will directly take care of the updates of Android Go phones, without the manufacturer having to intervene at all. This will make the new versions of Android arrive much faster, although being adapted to low-powered mobiles will not have many of the functions of the rest.


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