Android Go, Android One, and the Stock Android. You must have heard all these before but may not be aware of what all of these actually mean. Why Google has three different approaches for a single platform for mobile devices, the Android Operating System? This is the question most of us get in their mind.   For the beginners, all of the above are the different flavors of Android available on different devices across the globe. Although all the 3 flavors of Android OS have something in common, they all are different from a different perspective.

Before we tell you all about the three different versions of Android. First, let’s discuss what Android is. Android is an open source mobile based operating system that is no available on millions of devices across the globe. It is available on devices like Mobile Phone, Tablets, Smart Watches, IoT devices, Automobile and even Television in your House. It is also available in smart speakers but as Google Assistant only.

We will give you a better idea of the 3 different flavors of Android by differentiating their features. So let’s get started,

Stock Android:

Stock Android is the minimal and basic flavor of Android that Google makes. Stock Android is the Android which was found in Nexus phones from Google which had the purest version of Android. But since we do not have Nexus phones in 2018, it is safe to assume Pixel phones as the ones with Stock Android. The Pure Stock Android experience was found on devices like First Gen Nexus, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 5x and the Nexus 6P. Although many of you wouldn’t be aware, but Google did release some Google Play Edition devices from 3rd party manufacturers like Samsung and HTC which had Stock Android-like experience.

Stock Android is the Android that is sent to OEMs. OEMs work on the basic Android and apply their own layouts/overlays and push them to their devices. There are some disadvantages of that because usually 3rd party OEMs take the stock Android and modify them with their own layers like Samsung using TouchWiz/Samsung Experience, Xiaomi using MIUI, Huawei/Honor using EMUI, Oppo using Color OS, Vivo using FunTouch OS, LG using LG UX and much more.

At present OEMs using stock Android are Google Pixel, Motorola, Lenovo(K8 series only), Asus with Zenfone Max Pro M1, 10.Or(Amazon India), etc.

Features of Stock Android:

  • Faster updates
  • Smoother overall OS
  • Lesser resource hungry
  • No bloatware or unwanted apps
  • Better performance
  • More free storage


Android One:

We were having problems with the Android updates from 3rd party OEMs as they took a long long time before pushing an update to their Android phone. To make this situation better Google partnered with some low-end OEMs for Android One based phones. The first gen phones under Android One came from Indian OEMs like Micromax, Spice, and Karbonn which was later taken internationally with some other manufacturers from different countries. Initially, the Android One program was supposedly a flop because it had only entry-level devices.

Then in 2016, Google partnered with more OEMs like HTC and Motorola to bring Android One program to more people worldwide but that too didn’t get much attention. But in 2017 when Xiaomi brought the Mi A1 smartphone under Android One program, it was a huge success because of its cheaper price and a great value for money perspective to it. And in the same year, we saw Nokia partnering with Google for Android One and it is a big success for both the companies.

Android One comes with a tagline saying, “ Designed by Google: Smart, Secure and Simply Amazing ”. This means that the software in any Android One device is designed and controlled by Google. Hardware manufacturers work closely with Google to bring us the best possible experience of Android One program.

At the moment of writing this article, the phones under Android One program are Xiaomi Mi A1, Mi A1, HTC U11 Life, Motorola Moto X4, Nokia 3, Nokia 3.1, Nokia 5, Nokia 5.1, Nokia 6, Nokia 6.1, Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 8 and the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

Features of Android One:

  • Faster updates
  • Updates from Google
  • Better battery
  • Artificial Intelligence from Google
  • Google Photos – Free unlimited high-quality photo storage
  • Google Lens integration
  • Google Play Protect
  • Optimized Google Assistant
  • Smoother overall OS
  • 2 Years of OS upgrade
  • Monthly security updates
  • Lesser resource hungry
  • No bloatware or unwanted apps
  • Better performance
  • More free storage


Android Go:

Android Go or as Google calls Android Oreo (Go Edition) is a flavor of Android designed for low-end Android devices. Until Android Oreo, we didn’t have something like Android Go Edition but last year Google showcased this project with Android Oreo 8.1. Now it’s called Android Pie 9 (Go Edition). So this name goes up every year with the latest Android versions at that time.

Android Go is a branch of Android designed for lightweight performance. It is designed keeping devices with lesser RAM & storage in mind. Android Go is designed to run on devices with 1GB of less memory.

With Android Go, we get core Google apps in stripped-down versions of them. For example, the Google app has been stripped down from the unnecessary load and has been named as Google Go. Some other Google Go apps include Gmail Go, Google Assistant Go, Google Maps Go, Files Go and some more. The Google Play Store in Android One devices shows you apps recommended for Android Go on priority.

Some interesting features of Android Go include more storage. Google claims that Android Go Edition uses as much as 50% less space when put against standard Android 8 oreo or Android 9 Pie. It is also claimed that Go Edition uses almost 50% smaller app sizes.

At present, the phones with Android Go Edition are Nokia 1, Lava Z50, Alcatel 1x, Asus Zenfone Live, Micromax Bharat Go and much more.

Features of Android Go:

  • Designed for Low-end devices
  • Designed for devices with 1GB of less RAM
  • Designed for devices with 8GB of less storage
  • Brings 2x storage compared to standard Android
  • Upto 50% smaller app sizes compared to standard Android
  • Files Go app to handle all your files in one place
  • Google Play Protect
  • ‘Go’ branded Google apps
  • Data saver with upto 60% saving
  • Google Play Protect
  • Find my device
  • Optimized Google Assistant Go



To conclude this in one, I’ll say we have different approaches from Google for different phones. It’s a win-win situation for Google as all the 3 bring the OS Google has always wanted to bring.

Starting with stock Android, this is the Android Google always wanted us to use instead of crappy custom UIs that bring a load to overall system and resources. Google ships its Pixel lineup with stock Android on it and also wants other OEMs to follow the same. With Stock Android, Google has the right to provide updates as well as upgrades to the devices.

Speaking of the Android One program, Google partners with several OEMs to bring it’s original Android OS to their devices which are sold globally. With Android One, the OEM has right to install a few very key apps of its own like Nokia installs its camera app and the Nokia Support app on it’s Android One branded phones. In a similar view, Xiaomi also installs its camera, File manager and the Mi Community app in it’s Android One branded phones.

With Android Go, Google tries to get low-end devices, the taste of Android One. We can call it Android One for entry-level devices. In this case Google ships Android Go Edition to OEMs which later ship the software to their end product with Android Go.

What software do you use on your smartphone? If it is Android then what flavor of Android do you use. Do let us know in the comments.