It’s almost unfathomable. A Samsung smartphone without the whole Samsung Experience (formerly known as TouchWIZ)? Apparently so. The South Korean tech giant was reported to be testing its first ever Android Go-powered device in several Asian markets including Malaysia.
As you know, Android Go is essentially a stripped down, lighter version of Android with less resource requirements – storage, RAM and consumes less data. In its current form, it’s based on the latest Android Oreo build.
The platform is built to use less and comes with all the familiar Google tools and apps to get one started. Apps are 50 percent smaller in size and perform better on low-end hardware compared to their standard counterparts.
As experienced on the MYR350 Nokia 1, the Android experience is surprisingly full, despite the device’s bargain-basement specs.
So, why is Samsung going stock Android, you ask? We’re talking about the dominant premium smartphone maker in the world here. Why bother with the low-margin bottom barrel?
Simple: market share.
Based on research by Counterpoint Research, the overall smartphone market saw an annual decline of 3 percent with 360 million smartphones shipped (Data: Q1 2018).
Samsung, unsurprisingly, takes the lead with 21.7 percent market share, followed by Apple (14.5 percent) and Huawei (10.9 percent). Two fastest growing brands are Nokia HMD and Xiaomi.
Things get more interesting as we delve into the mid-range and entry-level smartphone segment. In markets like India, Samsung is being edged out by the likes of Xiaomi in the smartphone segment, and India-bred Reliance Industries (JioPhone) has spectacularly kicked Samsung off its pedestal in the feature phone market.
In short, Samsung needs an ultra-low end portfolio to address emerging markets. Which makes Android Go the perfect choice. It’s made for low-cost, low-end hardware but without a crippled Android experience.
According to SamMobile, that’s exactly what the South Korean phone maker is doing. It is currently testing its first ever Android Go device – the Galaxy J2 Core (SM-J260G) in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. The latest news is that this model is also being tested in Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
The SM-J260F variant is said to be testing in United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Caucasus Countries (what?), Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, France, and Poland.
Meanwhile, another variant – SM-J260M is currently undergoing testing in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Panada (what?), and Paraguay.
Based on a submitted Geekbench score result, the device runs Android 8.1 Oreo and is powered by an optimised version of the 14nm Exynos 7570 coupled with 1GB of RAM.