Android 13 has recently hit the streets, and with it, Google is raising 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 2GB for Android 13, whereas previously, it was 1GB. Esper’s Mishaal Rahman and Google Product Expert Jason Bayton also claim the minimum storage requirements have been bumped up to 16GB, although Google doesn’t seem to have publicly documented this anywhere.
The increase in system requirements means any phone that doesn’t meet the minimum specs won’t be able to update to Android 13. New phones launching with Android 13 will need to meet the minimum requirements to be eligible for Play Store licensing, though launching with an older version of Android (with lower requirements) will still be an option for a while. Technically, anyone can grab the Android source code and build anything with it, but if you want to license the Google apps and have access to the Google-trademarked brand “Android,” you’ll need to comply with Google’s rules.
Android Go is a stripped-down version of Android that has some of the more RAM-intensive features turned off, and it comes with a suite of specially made, lightweight “Go” apps. Google’s requirements won’t affect the US market much—even devices like this dirt cheap $30 Walmart phone have 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Android Go’s requirements are mostly about keeping OEMs in the developing world in line, where it’s still possible to find devices with 1GB of RAM. Google says that today, more than 250 million people are running Android Go.
While these are just the phone requirements, the minimum 16GB of storage will be a great idea to roll out to every form factor in the Android ecosystem. Last month, Protocol reported that Google was “strongly encouraging” smart TV and streaming device makers to ship with 16GB of storage. Google’s Android-based Chromecast with Google TV only has 8GB of storage, and it is a constant source of problems. It’s so bad we wouldn’t be surprised to see the rumored cheaper model increase its storage.