Google’s Material You design language has been available since Android 12, but you wouldn’t know it if you bought an entry Go Edition phone stuck with the old look. Thankfully, Google is finally bringing that aesthetic to lower-cost handset. The newly announced Android 13 Go Edition brings Material You to these basic devices for the first time, giving you color themes that reflect your wallpaper as well as an overall more stylish appearance.
It should also be easier to keep your phone up to date. Android 13 Go Edition adds Google Play System Updates that, like on the ‘full’ platform, ensure you get critical patches without waiting for your manufacturer to push the new code. This could help fix security flaws in a hurry, of course, but it will also keep your device current without chewing up the frequently limited storage on budget phones.
The new Go version adds Discover to help browse a curated list of news stories and other content. Some of Android 13’s subtler improvements are available here, including notification permissions and per-app language preferences.
The first Android 13 Go Edition phones won’t be available until sometime in 2023. With that said, Google notes the release is as much a symbol of Go’s expansion as it is a technical improvement. There are now more than 250 million monthly active Android Go devices. While that pales in comparison to the 3 billion total active devices reported at I/O 2022, it suggests the concept of a highly-optimized, more accessible Android OS is here to stay.