Published in Mobiles

One Android phone breaks free from Google

by on01 June 2022

Murena One promises to keep all the core features

A new Android phone, dubbed Murena One has been released which promises to free the user from Google monitoring without losing any of the core features.

Google apps, Google Play Services, or even the Google Assistant have been replaced by open-source software alternatives with privacy-respecting features.

Murena and Mandrake Linux founder Gael Duval was sick of Google by 2017 and wanted to keep his data without the search engine snuffling it and flogging it to advertises.

It took him five years but, Duval and his co-developers launched the Murena One X2. It's the first high-end Android phone using the open-source /e/OS Android fork to arrive on the market.

Duval's approach isn't to reinvent the mobile operating system wheel, but to clean up Android of its squeaky Google privacy-invading features and replace them with privacy-respecting ones.

To make this happen, Duval started with LineageOS -- an Android-based operating system, which is descended from the failed CyanogenMod Android fork. It also blends in features from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) source-code trees.

MicroG replaces Google's libraries with purely open-source implementations without hooks to Google's services. This includes libraries and apps which provide Google Play, Maps, Geolocation, and Messaging services for Android applications. In addition, /e/OS does its best to free you from higher-level Google services.

Google's default search engine has been replaced with Murena's own meta-search engine. Other internet-based services, such as Domain Name Server (DNS) and Network Time Protocol (NTP), use non-Google servers. Above the operating system, you'll find Google-free applications.

This includes a web browser; an e-mail client; a messaging app; a calendar; a contact manager; and a maps app that relies on Mozilla Location Service and OpenStreetMap. As you expect there is still a serpent in the garden. The App Lounge still relies on you logging in with your Google account. The Lounge anonymizes your data unless you use apps that require payment.

The $379 Murena One features a 6.5-inch IPS LCD display, eight-core MediaTek Helio P60 processor, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, three rear cameras (48MP + 8MP + 5MP) and 25MP front camera, and a 4,500mAh battery. It also features a microSD card slot for expandable storage and a headphone port.


Last modified on 01 June 2022
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