Alternative Android: Fairphone 3 with Google-free / e / available for 480 euros

The Dutch manufacturer Fairphone will also offer its current smartphone Fairphone 3 with the alternative Android version / e /. Interested parties can buy the more sustainable and fairly produced device directly with the open source software. If you already have a Fairphone 3, you can download the operating system and install it yourself.

Job market

  1. Socionext Europe GmbH, Langen
  2. SEG Automotive Germany GmbH, Stuttgart-Weilimdorf

The operating system / e / comes from Gaël Duval, the creator of Mandriva / Mandrake Linux. It is based on Android, but is intended to offer users greater security and more privacy. This includes that the system is Google-free, corresponding apps are to be replaced by open source applications.

The makers of / e / already sell some devices on their website that are delivered with the operating system. These are remanufactured smartphones – so the proximity to Fairphone is quite given.

App store with 80,000 applications

/ e / has its own app store, in which almost 80,000 applications are now available. Apps such as email clients, card apps or even the calendar are connected to in-house online services. This should offer a level of convenience comparable to that of smartphones with Google synchronization.

Users of / e / are not tracked, there is no advertising. The browser is based on Chromium, but all connections to Google have been cut, according to Duval. In order to be able to run apps that only work with Google's play services, / e / MicroG integrates. This reimplements a number of Google background services such as the Play Services or the Push service as open source libraries.

In the test, / e / scores very well in terms of privacy, but security sometimes leaves something to be desired. The software is partly based on very old Android versions with partly missing security functions. Also not all available apps are up to date, the origin is also unclear for some.

The Fairphone 3 with / e / is scheduled for May 6, 2020 be available online. The price is stated at 480 euros.

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