3GB of RAM Will Be the Minimum Required for Running the Full Android 11

By Bill Toulas / July 22, 2020

Google decided that starting from Q4 2020, when Android 11 will begin rolling out to OEMs, any devices that run on 2GB of RAM or less will be compelled to run the “Go” version of Android.

This is double the amount of what Android 10 Go devices needed - and the fact that Google makes the option mandatory is something new that shows interest in securing a flawless user experience. So, no matter what the OEM may think about a device’s hardware, if it has 2GB of RAM or less, Android Go will be the only way to go.

If you bought your phone with Android 10 and expect to receive an upgrade to 11, you will still get the full version no matter how much RAM your device sports. The new RAM requirements will only apply to new products that will launch with Android 11, not existing models.

The “Go” edition of Android was launched in 2017 and was meant to offer lighter versions of popular apps that leave a smaller memory footprint, launch quicker, and enable users to open multiple apps even if they use devices with as little as 1GB of RAM. However, these downsized ‘lite’ app versions often have stripped down functionality and simpler UIs, while the Android Go Play Store just isn’t as rich as its “standard” counterpart.

All that said, “Go” is a compromise that gives better performance in return, but not everyone is willing to accept that trade-off. For example, YouTube Go doesn’t give users the option to subscribe to a channel, and many would be infuriated by this absence.

So, what is changing with Android 11, and why has Google decided that 2GB don’t guarantee a smooth performance for the full version of the mobile OS? The answer is 64-bit, which is great for speedy performance but makes all apps more memory hungry. By re-positioning the Android Go bar to 2GB of RAM, Google is practically calling Go app developers to embrace 64 bits and deliver a seamless performance in what is today considered “low-end” and “entry-level” hardware.

All that said, if you’re looking to enjoy Android 11 without any discounts, you should be going for a device that has 3GB of RAM or more. Admittedly, most devices today are powered by RAM units that have capacities of 4GB or more, so you should have an amplitude of choices even when on a limited budget.

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