I have a phone, you have a phone, she’s got a phone, we’ve all got phones and they’re all Androids. Together, Apple and Google phones account for 99% of the smartphone market in the U.S.
I had a flip phone for several years. I loved it, and there’s certainly a part of me that wants to go back to those simpler times. But times do change. There are certain opportunities that you pass by if you don’t keep up with technology, and my job at the moment pretty much dictates that I have a smartphone.
The phone that I have is an Android. Android is run by Google. As discussed previously, Google’s business model is based on selling data which they collect from their users. Android phones are the perfect data collecting device, and they collect data on just about everything.
Apple is a little better on the data collection front, especially considering upcoming updates their operating system. However, Apple is not without its issue, like using slave labor and then lobbying congress to keep it legal.
So if you don’t want Google tracking and selling your every move, and you don’t want to support slave labor by buying an iPhone, what are your options? What about that 1% of phones that don’t run on Android or iOS?
Hauwei phones run on their own operating system which shares its data with the Chinese Communist Party, so that’s one option. Or you can run Linux.
Linux phones have actually been around for quite a while, but they’ve never really taken off. Maybe that’s because a $32 million crowdfunding campaign back in 2013 failed to reach its goal, maybe it’s marketing, or maybe it’s because the apps kind of suck. There are some options for getting full App support on Linux, such as the somewhat experimental Anbox, but all of the research I have done indicates that it’s a struggle, and the finished product is far from perfect.
If you’re ok with the app issue, you can drop $2,000 on a Librem 5, a special edition of which is the only smartphone to be made in the United States. If that seems a little pricey, a more affordable linux phone from computer manufacturer Pine64 is reportedly dropping any day after a relatively successful test run.
If you’ve got computer hacking skills it’s also possible to load a Linux operating system onto your Android phone.
By all accounts, the most seamlessly functional alternative to Android is Android itself. The e/ foundation out of Germany has essentially taken the Android operating system, and removed all off the parts of it that report back to Google. You can buy a phone directly from them, or you can load the system onto your current phone. Once again, you will need some sweet computer hacking skills if you’re going to go that route.
If you want a smartphone that doesn’t run on iOS or Android you’re in for a bumpy ride. I haven’t pulled the trigger on any of these options yet, but I have been doing my research and I’m kind of excited to join the 1%.
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com