Fairphone and e Foundation join forces to take the rare step of selling a non-Google Android phone to the public. The Fairphone 3, a midrange smartphone originally released in September 2019, can now be preinstalled with the / e / OS, an Android fork that replaces the usual suite of Google apps and services through open source options and / e / ‘s replaces cloud services. The aim of the two companies is to develop a “data protection-conscious and sustainable telephone”. (It’s “/ e / OS”, but for some reason it’s just “e Foundation”.)
The Fairphone 3 was originally released in August 2019 for € 450 ($ 493). If you buy the pre-installed / e / version from the website of / e /is the phone €480 ($ 525). The Fairphone 3 build from / e / ist available free of charge No matter where you buy the phone, but if you buy it from / e /, you may be financially supporting your phone’s operating system development.
Fairphone was founded in 2013 with the aim of developing sustainable smartphones that are environmentally friendly and fair to the people who manufacture them. The phone is designed to be repairable by favoring screws rather than glue and dividing the main components into modules that are easily interchangeable. The Fairphone 2 and 3 are the only devices with a 10-out-of-10 repair value from iFixit. Fairphone even sells spare parts directly on the website: A new screen costs 90 euros, a new battery 30 euros and a replacement USB-C port 20 euros. The company is also committed to the wellbeing of workers in the smartphone supply chain, with a focus on procurement conflict-free minerals and a paying worker a living wage. The Fairphone 3 is still made in China, but it is assembled by Arima Work with Fairphone improve working conditions.
Fairphone is based in Amsterdam and is only sold in Europe. It is a mid-range device with a 5.65-inch LCD with 2160 × 1080 pixels, a Snapdragon 632 SoC, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB memory and a 3000 mAh battery. There is a USB-C port, a headphone jack, a microSD slot, NFC, a fingerprint scanner on the back and WiFi for up to 802.11ac.
The d / e / al with / e /
The new operating system option, which is oddly (and impossible for Google) / e / OS, was founded by Gaël Duval, the creator of Mandrake Linux. / e / appears to be very similar to a real Linux distribution, as it first tries to combine existing open source projects in a coherent operating system, and then does all the necessary work to close the gaps. / e / is based on Lineage OS, the basic open source operating system for the Android community. Lineage (created out of the ashes by CyanogenMod) uses Google’s open source Android repo (AOSP) and cleans it up for individual devices to ensure that all hardware works on each device, and adds some additional functionality.
LineageOS can optionally be paired with Google Apps so that it works like an Android phone for end users. Without the Google apps, Lineage is just a basic shell of an operating system. Therefore, / e / LineageOS takes and turns it into a working non-Google operating system by adding many of the features you lose by removing the Google apps. There is an app store as well as integrated apps for search, email, contacts, photos, camera, SMS and more. Most of these applications are forks For open source projects, however, / e / is critical of some cloud services such as an account system and cloud storage for emails, contacts, documents and calendar events. There’s even an option for self-hosted cloud services.
However, creating Android that is not from Google is not just about replacing Google’s apps. Google’s “Play Services” APIs are built into many third-party apps. You need a replacement for all of these APIs for third-party apps to work. These are things like Google’s cloud push messaging system, Google’s merged location provider (Android’s de facto location API) and the Google Maps API. For this, / e / MicroG, an open source project that Kidnappings You can forward these Google API calls to other services. This is the second time we’ve seen a business plan that MicroG sends to consumers (Essential closed down before it had a chance), and that’s a little worrying when MicroG’s own Github wiki page describes the project as “alpha software and not yet ready for production”.
A big challenge for anyone trying to fork Android is keeping up with both the rapid pace of Google’s Android development and the impossible number of devices. Every user of / e / should know that they are most likely on an old version of Android most of the time. LineageOS creates / e / based on Android 10 only earlier this month, about seven months after Google’s final release. Of course, / e / still runs on Android 9, a 20-month-old operating system.
Device support for / e / is also limited, with support apparently due to the device that individual maintainers want to support. To complicate matters further, the “Downloads” page lists many devices that appear to have been abandoned and only have access to older builds that date back to / e / versions of Android 7. If you want the current version of the operating system, you have even more options. For example, the hacker-friendly Google Pixel line isn’t really supported. The latest supported phone is the Pixel 2 XL, but it only includes the Android 8 version of / e /. Only the Pixel 1 XL with Android 9 / e / is supported for the current version, and there are no builds for newer versions. The only Samsung flagship with the latest version of the operating system is the Galaxy S8, but even that is referred to as “beta”. Newer phones like the Galaxy S9 only have older Android 8 builds from / e /. The best supported brand seems to be OnePlus, which includes Android 9 / e / builds for 7 Pro, 7, 6T and 6.
However, this hot mess of device support isn’t your problem when you buy a Fairphone 3. This device offers / e / its first new hardware to focus on, and it has the advantage of being in line with the values the company is striving for. So far it has only been sold overhauled Samsung phones pre-installed with its software.
The Fairphone 3 with / e / pre-installed ships May 6th.
Listing image from / e /