Android is an open-source system; therefore, it offers the developers an opportunity to bring out their creativity. Due to this, there are now more manufacturers using custom skin on top of the stock Android than ever. But there is still a huge fan following for the stock Android Vanilla experience that Google provides, and for them, Android One is the way to go. Let’s see what Android One is and what are some of its pros and cons.
What is Android One?
Google first introduced the Android One program at Google I/O in 2014 for first-time smartphone users in developing countries to provide them with better smartphone performance.
Google partnered up with the smartphone manufacturers for the Android One program. Buying an Android One device means buying a solid phone with a pure Android OS experience and no other third-party apps or services. Also, the devices receive Android updates much faster and for longer durations compared to other android smartphones. Android One device offers you the closest stock Android experience.
Android One devices also come without any applications pre-installed from the manufacturer. This means that no custom skins (e.g., MIUI, ColorOS, etc.), no additional apps, or no preloaded Microsoft apps. The phones just include services and apps offered by Google.
Any smartphone manufacturer can opt-in to the Android One program, but they have to follow the requirements and rules specified by Google.
It is similar to the Nexus program that Google had in the past, but here, instead of devices being sold directly by Google, they are made by the partner companies and also sold by them directly to consumers. Many of the popular companies are part of the program, among which most prominent is Nokia. The company has the most extensive portfolio of smartphones using Android One software.
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Pros of Android One smartphones
1. Timely Updates
All the Android One devices are eligible for getting two major Android versions as soon as they are launched. Also, you are eligible to receive software updates for two years. It also provides the essential monthly security updates which many device manufacturers skip on after they release the device.
2. Free from bloatware
Sometimes manufacturers add extra apps and services to promote their company or the partner company. But with Android One software, there is no bloatware installed. Therefore you also get more space to use, which you can use to install your favorite apps. Android One smartphones are free of all these to offer the best android experience possible.
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3. Cheaper price tag
While Google introduced the Pixel phones to offer the best Android UI experience possible, they are still very expensive, and not everyone can afford them. So instead of buying them, you can get the closest, if not the same Android experience from Android One smartphones. Most companies that make them offer the devices at a very affordable price tag. They can be an excellent gift for your friends and loved ones or can also be a perfect choice for your secondary phone.
4. Longer battery life
Android One devices are optimized to prioritize battery life for the applications you use most of the time. It prioritizes them when they are running in the background. The phone will also conserve its battery life when it is in your pocket or bag and not being used.
5. Less RAM usage
As Android is an open-source system, the manufacturers are free to develop their custom skins and dump them on Android. As your phone becomes old, the custom skin slows your phone down and increases RAM usage. With stock Android, this is not a problem at all. As it is free of any bloatware or customization, it consumes less RAM, and as more RAM is available your phone runs smoothly.
Cons of Android One Smartphones
1. Hardware limitations
As the Android One devices are budget-friendly, they don’t always get the latest and more powerful processors. If you get an Android One device, the maximum you can expect to last is 1-2 years. As the apps keep improving, there is a limit to which the processor can give smooth performance. But with budget devices, this is the best that you can get.
2. Lack of innovative features
Due to the budget restrictions, Android One phones also lack advanced features. New innovative features such as pop-up cameras, folding displays, displays with higher refresh rate, or liquid cooling. Also, due to the price tag, Android One devices’ build quality is often mediocre and lacks that premium feel that flagship devices offer.
Manufacturers such as Nokia and Motorola are the only two big manufacturers that use the Android One software. Xiaomi was also part of this program, but due to poor updates and unhappy users, the company exited the program in August 2020. Due to this, the buyers have very few options to choose from with this operating system.
The Android One program is also available only in developing nations like India, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia, and several more. This poses a problem to Android fans outside these countries to buy these phones.
4. Lack of custom features
For many users, this may not be a big issue, but for some, it certainly is. A lot of manufacturers use custom skin over the Android OS. This allows them to add features that the users might find useful. Custom skins like MIUI (Xiaomi), Oxygen OS (OnePlus), and One UI (Samsung) pack awe-inspiring features and performance too. But as Android One is the closest thing to stock Android OS we can’t expect to see any of the features and extra functions.
As we pointed out all the pros and cons of buying and using the Android One device, they certainly offer more value for the money and are obviously an excellent choice to go for. But users switching to pure Android from smartphones using custom skin can be difficult as Android One doesn’t offer many customization features and extra functions.
Manufacturers like Nokia do produce some of the most premium quality smartphones with solid build and therefore are a great choice. They do carry a higher price tag but also offer timely Android updates. So Android One smartphones might lack some extra functions, but the smooth stock Android experience outweighs this and therefore makes them a great bang for every dollar you spend.