FP Leak: New Fairphone will run Android?

Community moderators are not representatives of FP at all… we’re just very enthusiastic community members. Fairphone have allowed us to run these sorts of polls with the understanding that they are ‘just for fun’ and we will not necessarily get a response from FP. Not to say FP doesn’t look at what the community is saying though, they are hearing our voices and they are taking our concerns into account where they see that they can, but also taking the wider context of the market they are trying to reach.

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The most important services is missing:
Google Cloud Messaging.

Others are:
Google Play Services
Malware Check
Swipe functionality for the Keyboard
and in current Android version (5.0): Google Chrome WebView*

  • this updates the WebView used by a wide array of applications automatically and prevents issues with WebView we currently face: Security updates of WebView have been coupled to OS updates until Android 5.0

There are two things to installing Google Apps.

  1. The Apps
  2. Google Play Services

Source: ArsTechnica

ad (1): Not all Google Apps are automatically installed when including GApps in a ROM. I don’t know which ones that are. However if you look at the third column of the picture above, you see the Google Apps that can’t be used without Google stuff installed. (Mind: There are many other apps from third party that also rely on Google Services, e.g. beloved TextSecure)

ad (2): Google Play Services are listed in the second column of the above picture. They are what digs so deep into the operating system. It consists of the proprietary services offered by Google but also items that previously belonged to the open source Android AOSP (column 1) were moved to Play Services. Google did that to be able to update parts of the operating system although many manufacturers don’t update the operating systems on most of the phones.


Looking at that table could be quite dillusionary for People wanting to run Android without Google Play Services. Note though this if for Android M, developer preview. Some things might change, but it is a trend that other have noticed to: Google moves functionality from Android to Play Services and Google Apps.

On example is the Camera, but also the Email client, the AOSP Calendar and the Keyboard in AOSP have not been updated that much. AOSP more and more becomes a basic system targeted at developers and many cool features are left out. Now many wanting to avoid Google might not want or need that functionality, but to me it indicates a shift: AOSP is targeted at developers and system integrators. Most user visible apps are proprietary now. Android at it’s core is still open source, but applications facing the users are increasingly not.

This illustrates why i think and have argued before, if you really want to support a full Open Source OS in the sense of Linux destop distributions, you are better of with Firefox OS, Jolla and Ubuntu. And if you and we other Open Source fans not start using this systems, that might a sign that when it is about Apps, users do not really care about open source. This is why i would prefer users wanting open source fighting for these OSes instead of relying on a platform that only offers a small part of its UX as free software.

Anyways, everybody is free to choose, and i do not think anybody using Google Android as oposed to AOSP is dumb, has not unterstood the industry or anything. It do think thought that increasingly, Google Android is not Open Source Android. And Google Android is what (this is my experience) almost everybody not being a developer expects when a phone is marketed as Android phone.

Yes, you are right, this is the latest listing for the upcoming Android M. Fairphone 2 will be based on Android 5 Lollipop. Some parts are different but the larger picture remains intact.

@ben, please don’t mix up AOSP and the Android which Fairphone users see. AOSP is indeed meant for integrators (Edit: it always has been). For instance it is the base Samsung, Sony, and other smartphone manufacturers use for their versions of Android (also Cyanogenmod or other ROMs are based on it). It is also the base for Fairphone 1. Still, all the Samsung, Sony, and Fairphone smartphones have camera, calendar, etc. The underlying functionality to take pictures is still in Android, only the app is missing. It is just an app that has to be and usually is provided by the manufacturer.

That will also be the case for Fairphone 2 again. If there will be an option with GApps installed, those apps will be from Google. If there will be an option without GApps, then there will be other apps installed.

To summarize, lots of functionality gets moved to Google Play Services. And you are right that in numerous cases users want that functionality. Me, for instance, I do want GMail, Hangouts, Google Maps, Google Now, and whatnot. But Android is still completely usable without Google Services.

Look for instance at Cyanogenmod. They are starting to substitute Google parts with Dropbox, Microsoft products, or stuff from other sources. Or look at all the open source options. You just have to use existing alternatives.

You are right in that AOSP has always been meant for system integrators (and arguably developers). However it included a Email client, Camera, Calendar etc as Open Source. This is more towards my point: Many users complaint that they do not want proprietary Google Apps, but the substitutes are also proprietary. I know that the basic functionality is still there. I also know that AOSP is the base all manufacturers use. But the Camera, the Notesapp, the Email App of all these devices is not released as open source by that manufacturors. The Android we have on the FP contains a range of proprietary Mediatek apps or customisation. The Android License, to my knowledge, allows that.

I also do not think Sony/Fairphone/HTC/Samsung is willing / able to provide alternatives to features like the Malware scanner, Maps API, Text-to-speech engine, System WebView, etc.

I doubt that. I pretty much assume the FP2 with GApps is the same package PLUS Google Apps. I do not think there is any app to be found in the Google free version that is not in the Google Apps version. But i am open for surprises.

I want that functionality to! And i have no problem with Google Play, I am on Android anyway and i would not want to miss that functionality.

You are right that this is always possible. My argument was that it is getting harder.

Not all of them. So far for instance Cyanogenmod has a pretty good track record of providing open source alternatives. But yes, you won’t get Samsung’s or Microsofts proprietary apps open sourced.

I don’t understand that. Can you please explain what you mean.

It is getting harder in the sense that less stuff is included in AOSP and integrators have to look elsewhere. However I have the impression that (since Snowden’s revelations, etc) people are more aware of the issue and there are more efforts come to fruition that help finding alternatives.

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If Fairphone 2 comes with SailfishOS I’m considering it!
1st reason: Privacy and no spyware…important in a world after Snowden revealings and Jolla stated privacy as main goal in SailfishOS.
2nd reason: Android-apps in real multitasking not just Android-'support’
3rd reason: it’s almost 100% open-source except a few ui-elements
4th reason: monthly software updates
5th reason: great community behind which cannot be said from the other contenders
6th reason: I don’t see fairñess/openess in Google…if they continue the way they do…
7th reason: my Jolla will be soon 2 years old…and my other phone (Samsung s5) isn’t that nice to use, so I’m happy to donate it.
8th reason and most important a phone/tablet should be fun to use: Swiping is fun and SailfishOS is highly addictive :wink:

Ubuntu - touch is nice too but then there is no Android -support

I’m ready to support Fairphone since I’ve been in China and saw there conditions how people work, life and who terrible polluted the air & water is.

Cheers, S.

PS: Android phones with Google -services don’t work in China unlike you use a vpn. Jolla does work there just fine there since you can install a Chinese Android-app-store :smile:

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Interesting fact! You can install that App store on an Android devices as well, obviously :wink:

You’re right Ben but you need to do it before entering China or you need to have CyangenModed your Android device beforehand. Downloading Android+Native apps from Jolla-store works fine without vpn, so not blocked by Chinese gov. firewall :laughing:

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