There’s no need to worry anymore about slow, unacceptable camera experiences on the cheapest Android phones you can buy. Google has announced Camera Go, its own camera app for the Android Go Edition software, which is used on ultra-low-cost smartphones around the world. The first phone to use Camera Go is the Nokia 1.3, announced alongside the Nokia 8.3 5G on March 19. and it’s a significant step in making it, and phones just like it, way more usable every day.
If you haven’t heard of Android Go Edition, it’s a spin-off version of Android, much like Android One seen on some Motorola and Nokia phones. Except it’s for even more affordable devices, while Android One has graduated to be used on more mid-range hardware. We like Android Go, because it stops cheap Android phones from only running hopelessly out-of-date versions of Android, which makes them slow, unattractive, and potentially less secure.
It’s not a niche platform either, as Android Go Edition can be found on an astonishing 1,600 different smartphone models available in more than 180 countries globally. It has proven popular since it was first released, and there are now more than 100 million active Android Go Edition users worldwide, up from 28 million recorded at Mobile World Congress 2019.
What does Camera Go do? Most importantly, it’s faster and smoother, something which is very important on phones running Android Go Edition. They usually have simple chipsets and 1GB of RAM or less, so well-tuned camera apps are crucial to making the experience pleasurable. Just because you bought a cheap Android phone, doesn’t mean taking photos has to be frustrating. It doesn’t mean you won’t get good features either.
Google’s Camera Go app includes an easy to use Portrait Mode, making it accessible to first-time smartphone owners. Don’t worry that most Android Go Edition phones will have a single camera lens either, as we’ve seen what Google can do with bokeh portrait shots on the Pixel 3a, which also has a single camera lens. Nokia has added a night mode for improved lowlight photos on the Nokia 1.3 too. Cleverly, the app watches over how much storage space you’re using, ensuring you don’t run out at a crucial time. Its just one of the apps Google pre-installs in Android Go Edition phones, all of which are designed to make the most of low-power device capabilities.
Nokia will release the Android Go Edition Nokia 1.3 with Camera Go globally in April when it will cost around $100, but other Android Go phones are available now, including the $80 Alcatel 1, and the $85 Samsung Galaxy J2 Core. Google says it will bring Camera Go to more phones soon but has not stated which models will receive the app. However, by adding in its own camera app, Google has made cheap-and-cheerful little Android Go Edition phones just a little more desirable.