If you haven’t heard, Google has been putting together a slimmed-down smartphone option called, “Android Go.” From what I understand, it’s an offshoot of the latest version (i.e., version 8, “Oreo”) of the operating system. Some Google apps, then, have been similarly lightened and streamlined.
Since I am somewhat of a technology hoarder, I thought I’d see if I could get any of this to work on an old Android-based Tracfone that I had sitting around in my gross tech junk drawer:
The subject of my experiment was an LG Optimus Fuel.
Now, you can’t just get any old copy of Android and install it in a simple way, I am learning. I mean, people have been hacking devices for ages, but I’m new to it and just kind of puttering around. But here’s what I think I’ve figured out:
- Different builds of Android are made for specific OEMs and devices;
- Even unofficial, legally-sound builds of the OS are hardware specific (that is, specific to exact models of phones and tablets and such);
- And even if you could, OEMs may (and have every right) to lock the OS-replacement procedure down.
In the case of the LG Tracfone, that is definitely the case.
So, What Can Be Done?
At the very least, however, I was able to try out a few of the “Go” apps on this KitKat (version 4.4) Android device. The results? Well, in short, it’s worth it on a device like this, where there is not a lot of space and the processing power & memory is increasingly non-competitive. And, at the same time, the discontinued Optimus Fuel can, still, play Netflix, reach the Google Play store, and run a good bunch of general purpose apps.
I look forward to seeing how Android Go runs on a device for which it was actually intended. Until then, I’ll keep puttering.