When the lead developer behind Simple Mobile Tools sold the business to ZipApps last year, many long-time users of this suite of simple, free, and open source Android apps were wary. And, as expected, ZipApps soon started inserting ads and locking features that had once been free behind expensive subscriptions.

But a developer who had worked on Simple Mobile Tools before the takeover, forked the last free and open source versions of the app and created the Fossify suite of apps which remains completely free to use. Fossify apps are available from GitHub, F-Droid, or the Google Play Store.

The Fossify project actually got started almost immediately after Simple Mobile Tools was sold, and I mentioned the project when its GitHub pages went live in December.

But now that the developer has begun adding apps to F-Droid and the Play Store, it’s easier for users to download and install apps without the need to sideload. Distributing these apps through the Play Store also makes it easy for users to automatically receive updates with bug fixes and new features if and when they become available.

Fossify’s suite of apps includes a File Manager, Calendar, Contact, Phone, and SMS apps and a simple music player and voice recorder. There’s also a Fossify Gallery app for managing images on your Android device, but while that app is available from GitHub and F-Droid, it’s not yet in the Play Store at time of publication.

Personally I’m most excited about the fact the Fossify Voice Recorder is now available in the Play Store. Simple Voice Recorder had been one of my go-to recommendation for folks looking to record voice memos for podcast or radio recordings on an Android phone. It’s easy to use but offers plenty of features including options to change the recording format, bitrate, and audio source.

But the latest version of Simple Voice recorder available from Google Play includes ads and locks some features (including the ability to set custom colors or custom locations for saved recordings) behind a paywall. How much do you have to pay to unlock those features and eliminate ads? $15 per week. For a voice recorder app.

Simple Voice Recorder’s “Unlock All Features” page

All of those features are unlocked in the ad-free Fossify Voice recorder.

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  1. This message is for Fossify developer team: please please please release a pdf viewer / editor app. Someone forward my message to them. Or if someone reading this comment can recommend me a painless free open source pdf viewer/editor app I’d be thankful.

  2. I either missed the news of the sale back in December or didn’t remember. It’s a shame because I just discovered the Simple Mobile apps some time last year and liked the ones I tried. I had some issues with the SMS app, but that’s how it goes. I found these apps on F-Droid when I needed a straightforward picture gallery because I found Google Photos annoying. My family isn’t keen on that either, so I switched them as well. I had wondered where the Simple Gallery app went. I was just testing a few other gallery apps this week from F-Droid(I always start there) and saw Fossify for the first time. I didn’t realize it was a fork, so that’s good to know. Of course, in a pinch, I’d consider old versions of apps as well, such as the recorder, which is an option I appreciate having.

  3. Typo: “$15 per month” it’s actually $14.99/€14,99 a week! Even the screenshot shows the ridiculously high subscription price, there’s no monthly plan.

    1. Yep, I knew that, but somehow my fingers couldn’t even type it correctly since it seemed so outrageous. I have to assume they know nobody will actually pay that much, but it’s their way of ensuring users put up with ads… Assuming they have any users left.

  4. Have they fixed the draft SMS?
    If you had a draft text message and decided to delete it, you couldn’t do it bc when you left the text chat, the draft version was still shown (back to chat). You could keep deleting like this forever.

  5. “Distributing these apps through the Play Store also makes it easy for users to automatically receive updates with bug fixes and new features if and when they become available.”
    Hasn’t f-droid recently made background OTA updates possible?