Autonomía digital y tecnológica

Código e ideas para una internet distribuida

Linkoteca. Android


Stock Android, also known by some as vanilla or pure Android, is the most basic version of the OS designed and developed by Google. It’s an unmodified version of Android, meaning device manufacturers have installed it as is.

The biggest advantage of stock Android is fast updates. Smartphones running it are among the first to get upgraded to the latest versions of OS, while owners of Samsung, LG, and other smartphones typically have to wait for quite some time to get an update. That’s because these manufacturers have to modify a lot of the software before they can release it, which isn’t the case with stock Android.

The second reason is that stock Android smartphones are bloatware-free, meaning they don’t come pre-installed with apps made by the manufacturer that you’ll likely never use.

So, the difference between dual standby and dual active dual SIM Android phones are:

  • No difference when the phone is in standby mode.
  • When you are using one of the SIM cards for voice calling (or sending SMS) through 2G network, the other SIM card will be disabled in dual standby phones.

4G+2G dual SIM phones can connect only one SIM card to 4G (or 3G) network. The other SIM card can only connect to 2G. Usually, the SIM card slot does NOT matter. Most dual SIM Android phones allow you to specify and change them.

Google’s vision for Android is to present it as a unified platform across devices. It has created an Open Handset Alliance (OHA) with over 84 members. Companies who are a part of it can actively contribute to the development of the “open” Android.

But they’ll have to settle their dreams of having an Android fork of their own someday. If they want to do so, they’ll have to quit the alliance.

But are AOSP-based operating systems really an alternative?

The answer is ‘No’ if you consider them at the fundamental level. Duval also didn’t consider it an alternative right away. But he says Google is restricting the use of apps on AOSP is one of the reasons for that.

He also said that “in 2019 you cannot consider only the mobile Operating System. You need to think about the “whole ecosystem” including the operating system, applications, and online services. That makes complete sense.

In fact, I read a detailed piece on Ars Technica, and came to know that Google has many legal weapons in its arsenal which make it virtually impossible for some company to create an Android fork (with Google Apps), pre-load it on devices, and sell to the people without Google’s approval.

One might plan to build an Android alternative without Google Apps. But the apps that we run on Android rely on the Google Play Services API for much of their functionality.

To get the Google apps on your Android fork, you (company) need to have a license from Google. And it’s believed that getting the license is a lot easier if you become a part of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). But companies that are part of the OHA are legally restricted from building non-Google approved devices.

Fairphone and e Foundation are teaming up and taking the rare step of selling a non-Google Android phone to the public. The Fairphone 3, a midrange smartphone originally released in September 2019, can now come pre-loaded with the /e/ OS, a fork of Android that replaces the usual suite of Google apps and services with open source options and /e/’s cloud services. The goal of the two companies is to produce a «privacy conscious and sustainable phone.»

The new OS option, the oddly named (and impossible to Google) /e/ OS, was founded by Gaël Duval, the creator of Mandrake Linux. /e/ seems a lot like a real Linux distribution, in that it first tries to gather existing open source projects into a cohesive OS, then does whatever work is needed to fill in the gaps that exist. /e/ is based on Lineage OS, the Android community’s foundational open source operating system. Lineage (which was built out of the ashes of CyanogenMod) takes Google’s open source Android repo (AOSP) and cleans it up for individual devices, making sure all the hardware works on each device while adding a few extra features.

A major challenge for anyone trying to fork Android is keeping up with both the breakneck pace of Google’s Android development and the impossible amount of devices out there. Any users of /e/ should know they’ll most likely be on an old version of Android for the majority of the time. The LineageOS builds that /e/ is based on only hit Android 10 earlier this month, something like seven months after Google’s final release. Naturally, /e/ is still on Android 9, a 20-month-old OS.

/e/ OS is the brainchild of Gaël Duval, one of the developers that created Mandrake Linux, which is now known as Mandriva Linux. Formerly Eelo, /e/ is a privacy-minded mobile operating system. Based on LineageOS, which is in turn based on the late CyanogenMod, /e/ is an Android derivative and maintains app compatibility.

However, because of the un-Googling of the operating system, which any Android savvy users will understand is a large task, many apps that rely on Google’s services are left unusable. To remedy this issue, /e/ employs the MicroG package. It’s an open source subset of Google’s services that respects privacy. This allows many apps to work, but far from all.

GOOGLE HAS SAID it wants to bring Android into line with the main Linux kernel.

Although Android already works on a Linux kernel, it’s been so heavily modified over the years, it’s almost unrecognisable, and certainly no longer compatible with the main Linux operating system.

it would mean that both Android and Linux would benefit from the advances we’ve seen in both since the two parted company, meaning more advanced Linux powered computers, and more agile Android builds.