Android with as little closed source as possible - part 2


Read part one of Android with as little closed source as possible, Life without US cloud services and Androids privacy invasiveness if you’re wondering why I’m doing this.

This is an update on how to live with a free and open (Android based) phone.

Some time during 2014 I went all-in, and removed Google Play. My previous article (Android with as little closed source as possible) left a list of closed source apps I was still dependent on:

  • Google Maps
  • Yatse
  • Youtube
  • TinyCam monitor free

When dropping Google Play I had to drop Maps and Youtube. They can’t work without. Maps is replaced with OsmAnd, which even can work totally off-line (no data usage, lower battery usage). Youtube can be used via a web browser.

I still have a folder of proprietary apps on my phone, installed via a APK downloader. There’s even an app to let you know when there are updates: ApkTrack. These apps are due to services hard to avoid (Spotify/Wimp for music streaming, Ruter for public transportation, NRK for public broadcast TV, Tesla/Airtame/SeekThermal for special hardware). These apps doesn’t bother me, and the OS with privacy guard has them locked down.

Proprietary Apps


There is still no phone with open firmware in sight. Even FirefoxOS comes with binary blobs. But getting rid of the three big ones, Apple, Google and Microsoft is a good thing, no matter what you’re running.