Many people can not imagine Android smartphones without applications and services provided by Google. Even Apple customers use Gmail and Google Maps on their iPhones. However, not everyone likes the situation in which Google collects information (and more precisely, telemetry data) about almost every smartphone user. That’s why Gaël Duval started the Eelo project, which aims to create Android that does not use Google services.
Chrome as a web browser, Gmail as an e-mail client, Google Maps as a car navigation, also storing photos and videos in the Google cloud, and an office suite in the form of Google Docs. This is how a standard application set from Google looks like, which almost everyone uses on an Android smartphone. Gaël Duval dislikes such a turn of events because he thinks that Android users are the primary source of the information for giant from Montain View. Google uses the collected telemetry data to make money from ads. In the case of iOS, it does not look much better. Apple creates a closed ecosystem which is set of applications and services whose source code is unknown. However, Gaël Duval is a supporter of open source software, which is not only free, but everyone can analyse its code and improve it.
Eelo, Android without Google, is based on LineageOS.
Gaël Duval has experience in open software projects. In 1998, he initiated the Linux distribution of MandrakeLinux (currently Mandriva Linux). He admits that he has no experience in developing Android applications, but he works with people who know about it. The Eelo development team will mainly work on modifications of LineageOS. Their main task will be the integration of open source solutions that will offer web services, including, among others, e-mail, cloud for data storage and office suite.
These promises are very interesting. Will Eelo’s project be a success? In the past, we had many attempts to create alternative mobile operating systems (e.g. FirefoxOS or Ubuntu mobile) that have failed. Gaël Duval and his team believe that the reason for these failures was the lack of application. That’s why they decided to rely on LineageOS, which is able to run commonly used apps. The first versions of Eelo are developed on the LeEco Le2 smartphone. However, the plan is also to prepare ROMs for Xiaomi Mi 5S and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2. Gaël Duval also thinks about LG G6. Less than a month ago, a fundraiser was launched using the Kickstarter platform, which aims to speed up the work. 10% of the collected funds will go to Kickstarter as the service fee, 60% will be used to pay developers’ work until the first stage of the project is reached, and the remaining 30% will cover the costs related to the products that participants will receive.