Google increases minimum phone spec requirements for Android 13

midian182

Posts: 8,303   +103
Staff member
What just happened? The Android mobile operating system has come a long way over the years. And, as with so many other types of software, the minimum device requirements for running the OS have continued increasing. For Android 13, Google has raised those minimum requirements once again.

Android 13 left its lengthy beta and preview phase and started landing on Pixel phones back in August. It's welcome news for consumers who always like to be on the latest version, but many phone users in developing counties will likely be affected by the operating system's updated requirements.

Google writes that users of Android Go, the low-power version of Android built for entry-level smartphones, will require at least 2GB of RAM if they want to jump to Android 13. That's a 1GB increase compared to Android 11 and Android 12 (Go Edition) requirements. Android 8 to 10, meanwhile, required just 512MB.

Although it's not mentioned in Google's post, Esper's Mishaal Rahman and Google Product Expert Jason Bayton (via Ars Technica) write that the minimum storage requirements have also increased, to 16GB.

The change is unlikely to affect anyone in the countries such as the US, where you'll struggle to find phones packing less than 2GB of RAM or 16GB of storage. But Google notes that more than 250 million people are running Android Go, and with big OEMs like Jio, Samsung, Oppo, and Realme building Android Go devices, there is a need for developers to build apps that perform well on these handsets.

Any phones that don't meet these new minimum requirements won't be able to upgrade to Android 13, while new handsets launching with Android 13 will need to meet them to be eligible for Play Store licensing.

Ars notes that if Google decides to expand the minimum requirements across the entire Android ecosystem, the change would cover non-mobile devices such as smart TVs, which don't always have at least 16GB of storage. Chromecast with Google TV, for example, only has 8GB. That's good news for users who have been unable to update their apps because of the limited amount of space.

Permalink to story.

 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,326   +930
Another typical Google foolish move ....
Not at all. We're in 2022, not 2002. 2GB is a reasonable minimum.

How is it foolish? O_o
Right?

This, objectively, is a good thing. Anything less is basically unusable as a smart device nowadays or runs extremely poorly. Applications (and the internet in general) have become more and more resource hungry.
Exactly.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,740   +6,497
How is it foolish? O_o

This, objectively, is a good thing. Anything less is basically unusable as a smart device nowadays or runs extremely poorly. Applications (and the internet in general) have become more and more resource hungry.
One could argue that this will make 2GB the new 512MB and equally unusable, as now developers who dont bother optimizing code have lots of RAM to consider for a baseline today.
 

human7

Posts: 124   +96
Those of you calling 2GB a good thing have not developed software for or on a Raspberry Pi or with developing countries in mind, and it shows.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,873   +4,883
TechSpot Elite
One could argue that this will make 2GB the new 512MB and equally unusable, as now developers who dont bother optimizing code have lots of RAM to consider for a baseline today.
One would argue that if it doesn't work now then it needs to be fixed now :)

Optimisations don't happen for ultra low end devices anyway. Most apps use open source libraries and other readily available resources. Optimisations are limited.
 

bandit8623

Posts: 431   +237
Those of you calling 2GB a good thing have not developed software for or on a Raspberry Pi or with developing countries in mind, and it shows.
not the same devices. 2gb is not much. my 4 year old oneplus 6 has 6gb. I have to run custom roms anyways. just picked up a few a13 5g phones for right above 100$ a piece. 4gb ram. you will be ok
 

bandit8623

Posts: 431   +237
One could argue that this will make 2GB the new 512MB and equally unusable, as now developers who dont bother optimizing code have lots of RAM to consider for a baseline today.
there is only so much optimizing you can do. videos are getting larger and higher res. with more compression codecs more needs to be put into ram to do the work.
 

human7

Posts: 124   +96
not the same devices. 2gb is not much. my 4 year old oneplus 6 has 6gb. I have to run custom roms anyways. just picked up a few a13 5g phones for right above 100$ a piece. 4gb ram. you will be ok
I agree 2GB is not much, but my point is that tech companies often make these changes only thinking about the developed countries. There are a few companies out there that do better.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,873   +4,883
TechSpot Elite
I agree 2GB is not much, but my point is that tech companies often make these changes only thinking about the developed countries. There are a few companies out there that do better.
This is actually for the undeveloped countries. So they don't get crap that doesn't work anymore. It sets a minimum standard and prices shouldn't change at the low end because of how high the competition is.

Most aliexpress phones I see at or above 50$ have 2 or 4GB of RAM. And for cheaper sub 50$ phones, you have the non-smart kind. these have seen increased popularity lately.

Besides when buying something easy to use for grandma, when was the last time you've seen someone buying a new phone with sub 2GB RAM in a developed country? I can't even find one to buy online where I live.
 
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human7

Posts: 124   +96
This is actually for the undeveloped countries. So they don't get crap that doesn't work anymore. It sets a minimum standard and prices shouldn't change at the low end because of how high the competition is.

Most aliexpress phones I see at or above 50$ have 2 or 4GB of RAM. And for cheaper sub 50$ phones, you have the non-smart kind. these have seen increased popularity lately.

Besides when buying something easy to use for grandma, when was the last time you've seen someone buying a new phone with sub 2GB RAM in a developed country? I can't even find one to buy online where I live.

This is actually for the undeveloped countries. So they don't get crap that doesn't work anymore. It sets a minimum standard and prices shouldn't change at the low end because of how high the competition is.

Most aliexpress phones I see at or above 50$ have 2 or 4GB of RAM. And for cheaper sub 50$ phones, you have the non-smart kind. these have seen increased popularity lately.

Besides when buying something easy to use for grandma, when was the last time you've seen someone buying a new phone with sub 2GB RAM in a developed country? I can't even find one to buy online where I live.
Fair enough. But companies could deliver great experiences on cheaper, low powered hardware if they wanted. There's no money in it though, so they don't, and we are left with software bloat (and thus hardware reqs have to go up). Google supported devices with as low as 1GB a year ago. What new feature are they offering where the extra GB is requires?
 

bandit8623

Posts: 431   +237
I agree 2GB is not much, but my point is that tech companies often make these changes only thinking about the developed countries. There are a few companies out there that do better.

Fair enough. But companies could deliver great experiences on cheaper, low powered hardware if they wanted. There's no money in it though, so they don't, and we are left with software bloat (and thus hardware reqs have to go up). Google supported devices with as low as 1GB a year ago. What new feature are they offering where the extra GB is requires?
Why are you on Google? Why are you not mad at apple? They don't even allow anything but apple. How about other 3rd party os?
 

human7

Posts: 124   +96
Why are you on Google? Why are you not mad at apple? They don't even allow anything but apple. How about other 3rd party os?
Oh, Apple needs to change, too. Even though anyone who chooses Apple should know about that restriction going in, doesn't mean they should have vendor lock in.
 

3ogdy

Posts: 76   +61
2GB is not much at all.
Hell, the Galaxy S3 had versions with 2GB of RAM. That was released 10 years ago with Android 4.

Sure, back in the day, that was a top of the line device, but who is willing to buy a phone with less than 6GB of RAM nowadays?

Then, there's the other detail: my phone was released 3 years ago and it's not getting Android 12, much less 13. Those 8GB of RAM would've been more than enough, but hey...