Duo is replacing Hangouts for video calling on Android

Changes afoot for handset makers

Google's new Duo video calling app hasn't exactly transformed the smartphone landscape, but you're going to be seeing a lot more of it in future: it's being added to the core package of apps that manufacturers must install on their Android handsets to get access to Google Play and other benefits.

What's more, it's replacing Hangouts in that package, and will therefore in effect become the new default app for video calling on Android.

Hangouts isn't going away any time soon - Google itself has said it intends to continue to develop it and target it at business customers - but in the future if you buy an Android handset you'll have to go through the extra step of downloading and installing it.

No Allo... yet

As Android Police reports, smartphone makers can still opt to include it, although that's unlikely considering that many of them have their own messaging platforms to push.

The WhatsApp-style Allo, however, launched alongside Duo earlier this year, isn't being included in the core package of apps - apparently Google thinks video calling is more of a priority at the moment. Or perhaps it thinks Allo isn't polished enough yet.

The changes come into effect at the start of December so all of the shiny Android phones launched in 2017 will come with Duo on board.

Here's our Pixel XL hands-on review: