The /e/ Foundation has been developing a custom version of Android that doesn’t include Google’s propriety apps and services for a few years, and in 2019 the team began selling refurbished phones with the de-Googled software pre-installed.

At the time the phones were only available for purchase for customers in Europe. But now customers in the US and Canada can buy Google-free Android phones from /e/ as well.

Samsung Galaxy 9+ with /e/

Initially the foundation was focused on Europe because it had a limited supply of refurbished phones and many were designed for use with European wireless networks, with some having limited support for carriers in North America.

Now /e/ has added two new phones to its lineup, and both are available for shipping to the US and Canada:

Keep in mind that some features may not be fully supported yet – for example you can’t use Voice over LTE and Voice over WiFi with these phones while running the /e/ operating system, but that may change in the future.

But if you’re interested in using a device that runs a version of the world’s most popular smartphone operating system but which doesn’t send data to Google’s servers, that might be a tradeoff worth making. Just keep in mind that what you’re giving up is access to popular services including the Google Play Store.

Instead, /e/ has an installer that lets you use a variety of free and/or open source applications. If you want to know whether an app that you rely on is available, you can use the /e/ Application Checker search engine to find out.

And if you’re interested in using /e/ software but don’t want to buy a new (refurbished) phone, you can always try installing the software yourself if you have a compatible phone – and the list of compatible devices is growing all the time. In the past week or so /e/ has added support for the LG G2, G3, and G5, Asus Zenfone 6 and Razer Phone, and several devices from LeEco including the LeEco Le Pro3 and Le Pro3 Elite.

via It’s Foss

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4 Comments

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  1. I am already using /e/ for some time and I can tell that the having my data collected by Google makes me happy a lot. /e/ is very easy to switch to from Google Android, and I don’t miss anything, especially since I deleted my Google account.

  2. Mainstream apps are the main reason I have a smartphone. There is only so much I can do in a browser on such a small screen. Without a good app store, it might as well be a Nokia dumb phone. I picked up a Firefox smartphone cheap on eBay a while back. It’s a good ‘phone’, it can send text messages and has a few factory apps like an old version of the Firefox browser. But now the Firefox app store is dead and software updates are no longer available. Now this phone just sits in the drawer, in case I might need spare ‘phone’ in a pinch someday.

    1. That’s what the Aurora Store (available on fdroid) is for. You can sign in with a google account in order to buy stuff too, no play services required.

  3. The phones cost $380 and $430 if you select the United States on esolutions.shop. And they cost even less in Canada at the current exchange rate.