Android app maker Simple Mobile Tools has been cranking out a suite of open source apps that live up to the company’s name for years, offering simple apps that offer many of the functions you’d expect from a modern smartphone including calendar, contacts, keyboard, launcher, music player, phone dialer, SMS, and note-taking apps, among other things.
Now the company is making the jump from software to hardware: a Simple Phone is on the way.
Details are light at the moment, but according to a reddit post, the Simple Phone will be “privacy focused” and will only ship with open source apps pre-installed. It will launch in Europe first, where it’s expected to sell for around 350€, but the company hopes to eventually bring the phone to other markets including the US.
In addition to the Simple Mobile Tools suite of apps, the company plans to pre-install some other open source applications including FairEmail, microG, and a web browser (right now it’s looking like it may be the DuckDuckGo browser, but it seems like that hasn’t been set in stone yet).
While specs haven’t been revealed yet, the developers note that the goal is to provide a privacy-focused phone with support for Android apps as a budget price, so you shouldn’t expect any “cutting edge” features. You also shouldn’t expect a headphone jack – it’s apparently harder to source phones with that feature these days, so the model that the Simple Phone will be based on doesn’t have one.
What it will have is a custom ROM based on Android Open Source Project code featuring a custom user interface and a default orange color scheme that matches the Simple Mobile Tools color, but users can change the colors if they want something a little more subtle.
The custom ROM will also eventually be available for download and installation on other phones if you want the Simple Mobile experience without the need to buy new hardware.
Until then, you can also find the full suite of Simple Mobile apps in the Google Play Store or at F-Droid.
via Android Police, Caschy’s Blog, and /r/SimpleMobileTools
Lately I have been using handful of app I have (or had) as web app via the install option found in Firefox. This includes Flipboard, Google Maps, Instagram, Reddit, Google News, etc. I just prefer that and they work well. That being said, I think this would be a good phone for me to have as I relay less and less on app, and just use a handful of web apps. As for email client, K9 Mail is great, I did try out FairEmail and wasn’t really impressed by it. Thunderbird did say we will have a mobile version this year. That might be an another option. DuckDuckGo is good browser I just prefer to use Firefox.
I really like the concept of their app catalog, simple and practical apps that are open-source, AND privacy focused.
I’ve tried their File Explorer app in the past, and unfortunately it didn’t support any kind of network storage, so I wasn’t able to use it.