Everything you need to know about Android One

The Android One operating system is gaining popularity, also in the Netherlands. More and more smartphones with Android One appear, but what is it? And what makes Android One different from the stock Android version installed on almost all phones? Computer!Totaal tells you everything you need to know about Android One.

Android: the operating system being modified

The Android operating system on your smartphone and tablet is made by Google. Except for Apple, all well-known brands install Android on their phones. Yet the software does not look and work the same on every Android smartphone. This is because manufacturers are free to make adjustments to Android, for example by installing extra apps and adding functions. Many brands also customize the look and feel of the software by changing parts such as the settings screen, app icons and the camera app to their own taste.

As the maker of Android, Google has no objection to the adjustments made by phone makers, as long as they adhere to a number of rules. Google certifies the devices and puts its apps on them, including Google Photos and Gmail.

Android One: from non-custom software to budget smartphones….

Android One was designed in 2014 for budget smartphones in third world countries. The dirt cheap Android phones that were sold there did not deliver the user experience as Google had in mind due to the limited hardware. Android did not work well on devices with little working and storage memory and a slower processor.

Google therefore came up with Android One, an optimized Android version that manufacturers were not allowed to tinker with. Smaller phone makers of budget models were motivated by Google to install the software on their devices and to release updates, but Android One was not a great success.

...to the same software for all types of devices

For that reason, Google changed its strategy two years later and started touting Android One software to major brands that used their own Android version. The concept remained the same: a non-customized

That worked better: in recent years, Motorola, HTC and Xiaomi, among others, have started selling smartphones with Android One. In fact, Nokia and General Mobile almost exclusively sell Android One models. The concept of the software is still the same: the manufacturer is not allowed to modify the software.

clean software and long-term support

The popularity of Android One among some of the phone brands and consumers is easy to explain. The Android One software is the pure Android version as Google makes it, with no manufacturer modifications. That's great for the manufacturer, because they don't have to worry about the software. This saves staff and therefore money. The customer who buys an Android One phone chooses the device (in part) because he wants to use the standard Android software.

Update policies are another contributing factor to Android One's growing success. A manufacturer that purchases Android One software from Google promises to adhere to the update policy that Google has drawn up. An Android One smartphone will receive Android updates for at least two years, including version upgrades. The manufacturer also guarantees that it regularly makes security updates available for at least three years. Google releases a security update every month and most Android One smartphones receive such an update within a few days.

Normal Android smartphones get updates less long

Such a long period of – fast – software support generally does not apply to devices that run the regular Android version. Cheaper models usually receive few updates, while mid-range phones are supported for one to two years. Expensive smartphones can count on a longer support period, but many manufacturers do not want to give guarantees about how long and how often they will continue to update their top model.

Brands such as OnePlus and Essential prove that non-Android One phones can also be updated quickly and for a long time, but in general the software support of Android One devices is better.

Which Android One smartphones are for sale in the Netherlands? (September 2018)

The range of Android One phones is growing fast. More and more (well-known) brands are releasing smartphones with Android One software, and those devices are also increasingly being released in the Netherlands. Nokia is the most well-known manufacturer in the Netherlands that offers phones with Android One. All recent models run the software, from the affordable Nokia 5.1 to the high-end Nokia 8 Sirocco. Xiaomi sells the Mi A1, Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite here – all three affordable models with good specifications and large screens.

If you are looking for a Motorola device with Android One, you can choose from the mid-range Moto X4. The Moto One Power will also be released in October, a phone with a huge battery and Android One software. The distributor of the Turkish General Mobile offers a handful of General Mobile phones with Android One software in our country and HTC sells the older U11 Life with Android One software. Please note: its successor, the U12 Life, does not have Android One.

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