Fairphone without paying Google


I’m super excited to get a Fairphone 4 with Ubuntu or Lineage or /e/- however, I understand it’s not possible to buy it like this pre-installed - trying to create as much distance as possible from Google, I’m curious whether anyone (Fairphone staff or otherwise) can explain how the licensing of Android works in this respect:

I understand from Wikipedia “The [Android Apache] license does not grant rights to the “Android” trademark, so device manufacturers and wireless carriers have to license it from Google under individual contracts.”

When someone buys a Fairphone, is some of their money going to Google for the Android license, even if they put Ubuntu or Lineage or /e/ on it straight away?


Hi and welcome to the user community forum,

Lineage and e/OS is both Android. You can buy a FP4 preinstalled with e/OS or Iode OS. Both minimal and not zero Google and def Android.

Ubuntu you might want to check their HP, overall I advice to use the search function of this forum, for further information.


Thanks for the welcome and for the message.

Yes I understand that Lineage and e/OS are both Android forks but I guess I assumed that because they’re not supplied by Google they might be exempt from Google licensing; perhaps that is a naive assumption.

My question remains regarding buying a Fairphone, given that it comes with one of these Android distributions pre-installed; does Fairphone pay a license fee on each device?

Regarding Ubuntu Touch, I note that their website says that it is “developed with the manufacturer” to work well on Fairphone4.

I certainly tried searching the forum for this information before posting and didn’t have any luck.

Thank you!

They come without, still your data might be transferred to Google.

As its a user forum, for official answers you would have to contact support.

Fairphone has for sure to pay license fees to Google and each FP4 sold will first be flashed with FPOS so with Google. I doubt that e/OS gets devices without a OS.

IMHO not naive. They are a fork of (free) AOSP so there’s at least no license fee necessary for using that type of Android.

Just to add: AOSP is the base every Android OS out there, stock vendor OSes as well as custom ROMs like LineageOS or /e/OS, is based on. And this AOSP base is supplied by Google as Open Source before smartphone vendors and custom ROM communities add their customisations and changes in their forks of it.

So, I personally wouldn’t be too bothered if Google got some money in connection with phones which run an alternative Android OS in the end. Google did put in the work for this, too, if in doubt.

Try to focus on the data Google wants to have from you to monetise it via Google dependencies when using your smartphone … Google Apps … Google services … connections to Google servers … try to get rid of those. Custom ROMs like /e/OS or iodéOS help with that. And Ubuntu Touch, of course.


Yup. But from my point of view, there is really nothing wrong with this. Google is the main Android sponsor and invests heavily in the ecosystem. This is anything but altruistic, of course – but without this sponsorship, there would be no AOSP and there would be no custom ROMs.

Best wishes,


Indeed, an ongoing collaboration exists between Fairphone and UBPorts (the maintainers of Ubuntu Touch OS). When all functions will be supported on UT for FP4 (*) they will propose a pre-installed FP4 in the shop.

See here:

(*) See also this spreadsheet for ongoing tests and the bug tracker for open issues. :slight_smile:


You may want to have a look at

It talks about FP’s relation to Open Source software.
They also list Murena as a FP partner where you can buy fairphones with /e/OS pre-installed, although I don’t know whether Murena gets them with Android and then changes it, or whether they have never had Android to begin with.

The regular FP warranty does require you to reset to the regular OS if you need troubleshooting/warranty, but I’m not sure whether this would still be Android if you get it through Murena.

When I was considering buying a FP4 (which I now have) I did consider getting it through Murena with /e/OS pre-installed, but the lack of clarity regarding the warranty conditions, along with having seen users on these forums talk about some issues with /e/OS with banking apps, and it being slightly more expensive, made me reconsider.
Your needs and considerations may be different from mine, of course, but I would encourage you to get a good idea of what you’re getting into before making a choice.

the e/OS is a tweeked version of Android :slight_smile:

de-Googled android is still ‘Google’ but with some privacy feedbacks removed.

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