Android 13 hit the streets recently, and with it, Google is increasing the minimum requirements for Android phones. Google’s latest blog post announced that the minimum amount of RAM for Android Go, the low-end version of Android, is now 2 GB for Android 13, while previously it was 1 GB. Hope Mishaal Rahman and Google Product Expert Jason Bayton also claim that the minimum storage requirements have been increased to 16GB, although Google does not appear to have publicly documented this anywhere.
The increased system requirements mean that any phone that does not meet the minimum specifications will not be able to update to Android 13. New phones launched with Android 13 will need to meet the minimum requirements to be eligible for the Play Store license , although launching with an older version of Android (with lower requirements) will still be an option for some time. Technically, anyone can grab Android’s source code and build anything with it, but if you want to license Google apps and gain access to Google’s “Android” trademark, you’ll need to comply with Google rules.
Android Go is a simplified version of Android that has disabled some of the most RAM-intensive features, and it comes with a suite of purpose-built, lightweight “Go” apps. Google’s requirements won’t affect the US market much – even devices like this super-cheap $30 Walmart phone have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Android Go’s requirements are mostly to keep OEMs in the developing world, where it’s still possible to find devices with 1GB of RAM. Google says that today more than 250 million people use Android Go.
While these are just phone requirements, the minimum 16GB of storage will be a great idea to deploy across all form factors in the Android ecosystem. Last month, Protocol reported that Google was “strongly encouraging” makers of smart TVs and streaming devices to ship with 16GB of storage. Google’s Android-based Chromecast with Google TV only has 8GB of storage, and that’s a constant source of trouble. It’s so bad that we wouldn’t be surprised to see the rumored cheaper model increase its storage.