New company called eelo will give you de-Google-ized Android so that you can keep your privacy



A new start-up company called eelo wants to provide you with an alternative version of Android. What makes this different than the version of the mobile OS that you are familiar with is that this version is de-Google-ized. The goal is to allow users to have more privacy than they currently do with the Google Play Services version of the open source OS. Services like email, online office applications, apps and cloud storage will be offered in Google-free flavors with users' personal information strongly protected. These services will be based on software offered by LineageOS, which grew out of the seeds planted by CyanogenMod.

The eelo project will not only be open source, it also will be not-for-profit which means that business decisions won't be made with the almighty buck in mind. The project is being run by Gaël Duval, whose Mandrake Linux was a forked version of that OS. Duval complains that Android is getting too big and unwieldy, and is tracking users constantly. This means that users are turning into data points for Google to sell to advertisers.

Duval is looking to give Android users a new "stock Android" experience and will release the project as "privacy-enabled" ROMs and smartphones. To raise money for the project, Duval has turned to Kickstarter where he is seeking to raise $29,644 by January 20th. So far, 94 backers have pledged $9,522.


In about a month's time, we will know whether Duval was successful in meeting his funding target. You can currently pledge to receive eelo pre-installed on a mid-range handset like the Xiaomi Mi 5s for 1,024 EUR ($1214.40 USD). You can also have eelo pre-installed on a high-end smartphone like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 for 2,048 EUR ($2,429 USD). Other contributions can be made in a much lower amount for stickers, t-shirts and other goodies. If you are looking for an operating system with Android-type capabilities that gives you more privacy, you might find eelo to be your cup of tea. If so, click on the sourcelink below.

source: Kickstarter

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37 Comments

1. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

That sounds interesting. Finally someone is working to safeguard users’ privacy from Google. But what I am worried about is the price for eelo once it gets released as a ROM. Since it’s non-profit, I hope it wil be free.

3. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I think free is to good to ask for but one can hope that it is free and if it's not, that it is at least reasonably priced and worth your money.

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7190; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I wouldn't be surprised if this OS version was backed behind the scenes by Microsoft. I remember when Microsoft's Satalya sat down with CyanogenMod owners, and shortly after they were working on a version of CyanogenMod (now LineageOS) with Microsoft, without Google apps or services. This was a around 2 years ago.

16. Subie

Posts: 2350; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I guess nothing is impossible, but if MS really was backing them why then would they need to raise $29,644 on Kickstarter?

20. sgodsell

Posts: 7190; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It could just be to see how many people are willing to back it. What a better way to see. Plus you are getting some money as well. It's called a win, win.

22. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Ehh... those dudes whom backed the project might not fully agree with your sentiments. I myself have backed several projects (most notably the Smach Z) only to watch it crash and burn. I wouldn't want companies with stable oversight and provisions begging for extra dollars they really don't need tbh.

24. Subie

Posts: 2350; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I totally agree kiko.

9. Tech-shake

Posts: 213; Member since: Nov 14, 2016

Honestly i hope it is not free and it is for a reasonable price. If it is free, then most the project will end up where cyanogen ended, or there will be some catch like selling your information to only “ trusted 3rd party”. So paying a reasonable fee to sustain the project should be expected if this project is as good as they make it sound

11. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Agreed!

2. shieryar

Posts: 24; Member since: Jun 03, 2012

I hope that this project succeeds.

4. lyndon420

Posts: 6723; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

We used to have this thing called Blackphone... haven't heard much about it lately.

5. prakash_shewani

Posts: 25; Member since: Feb 05, 2016

Talk about privacy and put your OS on Xiaomi phones. I think Google is more trustworthy than those guys.

7. Paximos

Posts: 282; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Neither one should be trusted at all.

12. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Nothing is wrong with Xiaomi's hardware and without their own software they cant spy on you and the same goes for Google, what eelo is doing is replacing the original software that comes with the phone all together as well as Google's services. I read an article by the founder of eelo Gaël Duval after visiting the kickstarter page, really clarifies what they are trying to do as well as mention that they are using the G6 as well so not all Xiaomi phones and possibly other phones that people request. Here's the article https://hackernoon.com/leaving-apple-and-google-my-eelo-odyssey-part1-the-mobile-os-f378ee247315

6. Khyron

Posts: 397; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

rooted Phone + disable services you can disable googleplay services process monitoring your location running on background and Sharing Your data improve your battery life and save some cpu cicles HAPPY HOLIDAY GUYS!!!

13. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Which would brake a lot of apps, mainly games that rely on Google service to even run. There is an alternative by MicroG to get pass this without it games like PokemonGO and a lot of others wouldn't run with Google's stuff disabled. Read thishttps://hackernoon.com/leaving-apple-and-google-my-eelo-odyssey-part1-the-mobile-os-f378ee247315

8. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1318; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

$2,400 for a $600 phone and it's a not for profit? That's one heck of a donation.

10. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

You want privacy buy iPhone, I'm not a hater but there is that saying "if you aren't paying for a product then you are the product"

15. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

You're not paying for the OS on the iPhone, because it's only on their own devices. Unless every OEM put out their own OS, the two options are to bake the OS cost into the device cost, or offer it free and have it be ad supported. The problem is building your own OS is more cost prohibitive, and there's no guarantee people will adopt it. How many new OSs have we heard about that either never made it to market, or failed horribly at launch? With Google's business model, the costs stay down and is readily available to any hardware startup. And if a person wants to move to a different OEM (like Samsung to LG or LG to HTC) they don't have to lose any apps or media that they've invested in. Those are costs no one thinks about. So if you go to a paid OS model, not only do you have the OS cost, but also the costs of lost media and apps if each OEM had their own OS. That would effectively lock everyone into devices from one OEM unless they want to repurchase those things, assuming the other OS even offers them.

18. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

I partially understand what you are trying to say, but how does that even relate to media? Video (MKV/mp4), (FLAC/Wav) of image (png/jpeg) file should work on any OS you copy it to.

19. AmashAziz

Posts: 2898; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

People don’t have just media on their phones.

33. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I know that, which is why I also mentioned apps. I was focusing on things that the user paid for and wasn't transferrable to devices running other OSs.

32. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

When I was an Apple user, video media I bought through iTunes, like movies or music, were DRM locked to iTunes/iOS. I don't know if that's changed since then, but that's how it was back then. Now you could convert and burn music files to a CD (a maximum of 5 times IIRC) and then rip them to your PC. And I was only talking about paid media like audio or video files, not images.

37. avalon2105

Posts: 352; Member since: Jul 12, 2014

I thought that apps like iTunes, Google Play, Spotify etc. kept things locked to account and not a device. That iTunes policy sounds like a real dick move. I really hope that Apple changed/changes that.

27. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

IPhone is a complete product that the user is buying; one can't separate the hardware from the software and price them separately but one is paying for both hardware and software when one buys an iPhone. The same goes for Android.

34. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

It's that way with iPhone because there's only one hardware OEM. It's that way on Android because they don't charge for the OS. But Microsoft's Windows Mobile licensed their OS to hardware OEMs for a fee. So just because Apple and Google aren't doing licensing fees for their OS, it doesn't mean that no one does it. And even though they say this privacy version of Android isn't for profit now, it doesn't mean that it won't change in the future, especially if they can't maintain the business without funding.

36. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

MS can do whatever it wants to do, I was only talking about the iPhone and Apple.

26. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Anyone pay for their phone, iphone is no more expensive than android anymore.

31. xocomaox

Posts: 200; Member since: Dec 14, 2015

Apple has an even worse track record than Google when it comes to privacy.

17. Cat97

Posts: 1858; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

I hope people realize that Google has one condition for those wanting to use Android without Google services: they cannot install the App Store.

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