Entertainment

What matters on the inside

  • gadgetbyte

Jul 10, 2018-

What are the differences between the regular Android, StockAndroid, Android One, and Android Go OS?    

— Damodar Pandey

Dear Damodar,

Let me explain. The regular Android is the OS found in traditional OEMs like Samsung, LG, HTC, etc. Google publishes the source code for Android as part of its Android Open Source Project (AOSP). After publication, anybody can take the code from Google and can build around it so it would be suitable for a smartphone or any other development board. Most OEMs add their own variations to the code provided by Google, these are called the skin or the UI and are the manufacturers’ way of improving the user experience by adding customisations to the already available software features. Most of the features in custom UIs are good but some UIs might come with redundant features and numerous bloatware though this has improved over the years.

Stock Android is the OS found in smartphones made by Google: earlier it was Nexus phone, now it’s Pixel phones. Since these smartphones come directly from Google, the company doesn’t add any kind of customisations: no custom skins are overlaid and no bloatware is provided. Additionally, smartphones with Android OS are always the first to get software updates and security patches from Google.

The Android One, it is a variant of the Stock Android provided to the smartphones from other OEMs that are not Google. Android One project was introduced in 2014 in order to provide an unadulterated or stock Android experience to the users. In the case of Android One, Google offers the Android One OS to the interested smartphone makers and commits to sending regular updates and security patches directly to the handsets for an agreed time frame. General Mobile GM 5 Plus, Moto X4, Xiaomi MI A1, and all the smartphones from Nokia released in 2018 were developed under this project.

Lastly, lets talk about the Android Go. This version of Android is the toned down version of the Android One OS and is targeted specifically for low-end devices. It is a cut-down version, so it lacks many pre-installed apps. Since the low-end smartphones are low on memory and processing power, the OS features ‘lite’ or ‘Go’ versions of Google apps, like Maps Go and Gmail Go. On doing so, users can run apps like Gmail, YouTube, and Maps smoothly even on low-end devices without any hassle. The big difference between Android Go and Android One is that Android Go doesn’t come directly from Google—Google sends it to the smartphone makers like Nokia, and then the smartphone maker releases it. This also means that the smartphone maker is solely responsible to release updates for their own phones. This process adds a delay for users waiting to use the latest OS.

 

I have seen that the Instagram recently rolled out IGTV app. Can you explain its features?

—Tara Aryal

Dear Tara,

It is true that the Instagram rolled out the IGTV feature upon reaching a milestone of one billion users. This new app let’s users watch long form, vertical video from their favourite Instagram creators.

In the past, users could only view videos that were 60 sceonds or shorter. The 60 seconds duration did not work well for every type of contenet and IGTV was developed as a solution to this. Since the app is designed for smartphones, the app is better suited for vertical videos.

Watching videos on it is also simple. IGTV starts playing as soon as the users open the app. Users don’t have to search to start watching content from people they are already following on Instagram. And other videos are suggested based on the user’s interests. Users can swipe up to discover more by switching between “For you,” “Following,” “Popular” and “Continue Watching.” After watching the videos, users can also like, comment and send videos to friends in Direct.

Since YouTube has been the most popular hub for videos till date, it is said that Instagram has rolled out this feature to end YouTube dominance in the video category. Users can only upload videos that are no more than an hour, a limitation that distinguishes IGTV from YouTube.

There are numerous apps available in various stores and some of them are placed there with malicious intent such as stealing data. How to know if an app is safe to install?

—Sachin Thapa

Smartphones are expensive and contain massive amounts of personal information. And it is really sad to know that even the most reputable app stores cannot guarantee that every app in the store is safe.

But since the protection of private information is very important to most, users need to be aware of the apps existing on their phone and any apps they are about to install. There are simple ways to mitigate risks:

Know your source

Only download the apps from a trusted source and avoid the habit of downloading apps from outside the app store. Since the apps within Google Play and Apple App store are screened for legitimacy, quality, safety, and many other factors, users can generally download apps from such stores without fear. However, the apps outside of these sources are more likely to be infected with malicious programming. So, users should avoid downloading from non-trusted app market-places and suspiscious websites.

Learn about vendors and developers

Learn more about the vendor and/or developer before installing an app. Many app stores link to the vendors’ web page. On the Google Play store, this is found at the bottom of the app’s page. If there is no link or if the link doesnot work, then look them up in a search engine. Reputable app developers are easy to research. If they cannot be found through search engines, it might be too risky to install the app. If the app has a website, learn of how information is collected and used by them, what information is made available to advertisers, and what is the policy for disclosure of personal information. Make sure that the vendor has clear security policies and that their contact information is a valid one. If everything is satisfactory, only then should you proceed.

Inspect permissions

Check the permissions. If the app is asking for a permission, which you don’t find essential for the kind of app being installed, there is something fishy. Be careful about installing such apps.

Know the number

Also check the times the app has been downloaded from stores. If the number is a lot, the app is probably trust-worthy.

Read reviews

Before installing the apps, it is necessary to read the reviews. Reviews tell how the users feel about the app and their experiences with it. Great apps have lots of great reviews from real users and the reviews tend to give consumers a good insight into the quality of the app.

Published: 10-07-2018 08:27

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