At this point, most flagship Android phones have a pretty crazy amount of RAM on board, often hitting double digits. Some of the cheaper models, though, can sometimes skirt the bare minimums. According to a recently leaked document, though, Google will require that all Android smartphones will need to have at least 2GB of RAM starting later this year.

Leaked Android documents reported by XDA reveal that Google is making some changes to low-RAM devices starting with Android 11. Starting in Q4 of 2020, all Android devices launching with Android 10 or Android 11 will be required to have at least 2GB of RAM. At least, technically.

So, what happens if an Android smartphone maker produces a phone with less than 2GB of RAM? At that point, the device is considered an Android Go smartphone and must be sold and marketed as such. This applies to any device launching with Android 11 as well as any Android 10 device that is launched after Q4 2020. Current devices on the market with 2GB or less of RAM will not have to be switched to Android Go, but can remain “standard” Android devices.

Beginning with Android 11, devices with 512MB RAM (including upgrades) are not qualified for preloading GMS.

All new PRODUCTS launching with Android 11, if they have 2GB RAM or less, MUST return true for ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice() API, and launch as an Android Go device.

Starting in Q4 2020, all new PRODUCTS launching with Android 10, if they have 2GB RAM or less, MUST return true for ActivityManager.isLowRamDevice() API, and launch as an Android Go device.

Previously launched 2GB RAM devices in standard GMS configuration SHOULD NOT convert to Android Go configuration via MRs or letter upgrades. They will remain standard Android

What does this mean for you as a smartphone buyer? For one, there will be far more Android Go devices on the market. Previously, Go was intended for devices running with less than 1GB of RAM, but it wasn’t a requirement. Now, it is. Further, the 2GB ceiling also means that more Android Go smartphones will feel considerably faster, and there will be likely be more variation in pricing as well.

Notably, too, Google is raising the minimum for Android Go in terms of RAM. Where these devices were previously perfectly acceptable with just 512MB of RAM, Google now requires at least 1GB for OEMs to pre-install Google apps.

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Ben Schoon

Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

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