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High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

All about android phones.
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Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:14 pm

High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by iagudo »

I've been developing plans of buying a new handset. Droid RAZR MAXX, eh? But I hate it when people buy something aimlessly and then realize that their phone can't do everything that they wanted it to. I'm mainly right side of the brain, but I design products with an emphasis on technology and I have a strong respect for engineers. So I'm not some MacBook boob. Haha. But anyway (back on topic), the Droid RAZR MAXX sounds to me that it has some of the most sophisticated specifications on the market today.

Is there any open source and fully-customizable operating systems that could be loaded onto the MAXX? I have to admit that I strongly dislike Android and that I think it has many unnecessary design elements, and fascist personal tracking which I have to admit I am not very fond of. If there is any great open source OS to replace that, do tell. I want complete control over my phone which is what I believe high-end phones should offer; and hopefully the luxury phones I'm designing in the future.

Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by i3rianl »

I would also avoid the RAZR MAXX completely if I understand your goal, Motorola's recent devices are notoriously difficult to replace the firmware on, and there is very little development for them compared to other devices. If you get a RAZR MAXX, you are absolutely going to be running the stock Motorola-themed Android for the foreseeable future.

Since I assume you are on Verizon (I believe they are the only ones who have the RAZR MAXX) I would go with the Galaxy Nexus, since it not only a more powerful phone, but can be completely unlocked by the Android development tools.

From that point, you could theoretically install any ARM variant of Linux on it, though it wouldn't actually work as a phone at that point anymore...

Not that I really understand what your goal is. You are looking for an open source and customizable mobile OS...which is exactly what Android is. If you don't like something, feel free to change it and build a new firmware image for your device.

Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:13 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by iadoreafedora »

If that's what I'm doomed to be stuck with for the rest of my experience of further getting a MAXX, then no. How is the Galaxy Nexus a more powerful phone, if I may ask? Most sources I've looked at said that MAXX was superior. :P And yes, I am on Verizon Wireless. But I don't to be tracked by the scum company that Google is. They don't need to know where I am walking to and what I am eating. I wish to demolish every bit of Big Brother that is in my household. That's why I don't like Android, because they're another Google tracking device. Android also isn't entirely open-source, unless you root it. Is it possible to root ICS and eliminate any tracking features?

And if I can get away from Google, are there any ARM variant OS that can work as a phone as well?

Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:13 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by iadubber »

"Rooting" simply means to run software as the root user, it's akin to running "sudo" on a normal Linux machine. No modifications to Android's source is required to get root access.

If you have root-level access to the device, you can stop any process you want, so whatever particular functions of the OS which you are so worried about can be disabled or removed. Again, the source code to Android (the core OS, not necessarily applications) is open, so if you are so inclined you can go through every line of it to make sure it's not doing anything you don't want.

In terms of a viable non-Android open source mobile OS you could install on a modern smartphone, I honestly can't think of any. There are projects out there like Boot To Gecko and Tizen that aim to deliver an open source alternative to Android on mobile devices, but they are very early projects. Boot To Gecko does run on the Galaxy Nexus, but I don't know what its current level of functionality is.

As for how the devices compare, the MAXX is nothing more than a RAZR with a larger battery, there are no internal changes at all. The RAZR line runs the older OMAP4430 SoC compared to the latest OMAP4460 which is in the Galaxy Nexus. Nexus also has some nice ancillary features such as NFC and the zero shutter lag camera, though those may not necessarily be advantageous to you.

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by i0null »

Agreed. I, too, am de-Googling my life, but haven't got so far as finding a viable alternative for Android. Hopefully, a clear winner surfaces at some point - there is certainly a market for a non-Google, open source, privacy-conscious smartphone OS.

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:15 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by iajamieson »

Now that I doing more research you seem to be right on the fact that people are just overrating the MAXX. The Galaxy Nexus is a way more powerful phone. Hopefully I can de-Google the OS. It's a shame there isn't any non-Google alternatives.
They're an absolutely terrible company. And yes an open-source system would be excellent if we could actually get one that works and is up-to-date.

Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by i-conica »

Why is information on smartphones always so sketchy? That is completely different from what I was looking at. From that source, it looks like the MAXX has better file support and document editing. The NEXUS has a better chipset. And the MAXX obviously has a far superior camera. Whatever, the Samsung Galaxy SIII is out now which is far superior to the MAXX, so I'm getting that.

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by i18nde »

I'm not sure what part is "sketchy". File support and document editing? Those aren't functions of the hardware, that is whatever application(s) you want to install. It's impossible for one to be better at "file support" than the other, they both have access to the same library of software. Though your goal from the start has been to wipe the OS all together, so I'm not sure why you are worried about that now.

As for the Galaxy SIII, the US version is almost identical to the Galaxy Nexus, save for a higher MP camera. Keep in mind the US Galaxy SIII does NOT have the quad core processor, it's only dual.

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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:13 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by iafmanoj »

If you're so worried about removing every Big Brother bit from your household, I think you should get rid of every cellphone you have (your operator can track you anytime), your internet connection (your ISP keeps track of every site visited) and so on.
I don't really think Google has put tracking software bits inside Android per se, but those are to be found (if any) in Android applications developed from Google itself or from third parties, especially in closed source ones.
The choice is up to you in carefully looking at what you're installing.

Posts: 17
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:11 pm

Re: High-End Phone + Open Source OS?

Post by i017535 »

i would have to agree with 414N, most of the 'tracking' isn't done by the phone per-se, it is done by the service provider's network and in realms outside of your control.
Micro$oft 1> /dev/null 2> /dev/gossip
living with a windows pc is like having a poorly tuned musical instrument, installing linux is like getting it tuned and becoming fluent in linux is to realize just how badly out of tune your pc was with windows

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