Google has made sure in recent years to not just optimize its operating system, Android, but also created a new version of Android, named Android Go to make the OS run on lower end mobile devices much better. Android Go is currently optimized to run on phones with 1GB or less RAM.
Aside from the modifications done to the operating system, there are also the new Android Go versions for many popular first-party apps which considerably reduced their sizes and complexity sometimes removing perhaps unnecessarily complicated graphical designs, animations and interfaces along with stripping some extra functionality and adding other niche features.
Mobile phone manufacturers, like Nokia, ZTE, Alcatel and potentially Google itself later down the line are eager to start producing devices running Android Go.
The importance of Android Go is that it will enable device manufacturers to put out low-end, cheap smartphones in third-world countries. Somewhere in the background Google must also think of this initiative as a way of expanding its user base by getting more people to use its services.
People in developing countries might be unable to buy flagship phones as of now, but in my eyes these $80-$130 phones are significantly weaker offerings compared to big and small Chinese counterparts alike. Chinese smartphone and tablet makers are offering their own devices ranging from just $50 to well above $2000, but for most people mid-range and flagship Chinese phones are the most appealing. In the mentioned $80 to $100 range, these manufacturers have really solid offerings running full Android without any shortcuts or compromises. While classic, mainstream phonemakes such as Nokia and Alcatel will opt for putting from 1 to 1.5 GB of RAM in their phones, Chinese phones in the $130 range are currently packing 2 to 3 GBs, not even mentioning with superior CPUs and battery capacity.
Chinese companies by Google might be viewed as “rule-breakers” or as “rogue” corporations because they do not tend to really care about what Google has to say or what Google wants to do. This point can be further illustrated with the recent revelation that Google is now blocking “uncertified devices” from opening Google Apps, that includes Google Maps, the Google Play Store, Google Calendar and basically nearly every single app developed and maintained by Google. (https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/3/26/17165136/google-blocking-uncertified-devices-gapps-custom-roms)
Beforehand, mainly Chinese manufacturers were releasing “uncertified devices”, but there are also some geeks who install custom ROMs.
Although, Google promised a transparent process to verify these devices very many people ran into problems trying to certify their smartphones running custom versions of the Android operating system without any explanation or even a useful error code. Perhaps it is just a way by Google to promote mainstream, established manufacturers and to cut some “undesirable” indies down.