Well, it looks like Samsung's first Android Go smartphone won't be running stock Android, as we had all been expecting. We have received pictures of the actual device from one of our sources, and these pictures reveal it will have the Go versions of Google's official apps installed over Samsung's usual Experience UX.
Samsung Experience UX with Android Go apps
If you check out the official Android Go website, it doesn't say users will get a stock Android experience. It's only meant to offer a user experience that's less demanding on ultra-affordable smartphones thanks to apps that use less memory and storage space. Galaxy J2 Core, the rumored name for Samsung's Android Go smartphone, should also have clued us in on the fact that it wouldn't run stock Android. Yes, Samsung did have Galaxy devices running stock Android via the Google Play Edition program a few years ago, but with the company working to bring even its wearables back under the Galaxy umbrella, a Galaxy phone running stock Android would look rather odd at this point.
As seen in the picture above, the device has Go versions of the official Google apps installed. For Android Go's data saving and storage management functionality, Samsung is using its standard Device Maintenance feature. Or, well, it seems to have switched back to the Smart Manager app that came preloaded on its devices until 2016. Its abilities shouldn't be any different from the Device Maintenance tool on modern Galaxy smartphones, though.
On-screen navigation keys, but no Infinity display
Also interesting is the presence of on-screen navigation keys. The Android Go device doesn't have an Infinity display, so it's possible Samsung will soon be getting rid of the traditional physical home button and capacitive navigation keys on all of its devices, irrespective of whether they have an all-screen design or not. The Android version, as expected, is 8.1, which is the minimum for Android Go devices. The security patch date is December 5 2017, but hopefully the device will launch with the latest security patch.
Alas, there's no telling when the launch of Samsung's Android Go smartphone will take place. The device is being tested in a number of markets around the world, and its supposed spec sheet was leaked late last month. But just how far the company is from making an official announcement is unknown, though we can be certain more information will leak out in the coming weeks.