Dumb Smartphone

I have been seriously considering ditching my Android Smartphone a OnePlus 7Pro a wonderful device with a semi privacy twist no Punch Hole camera I have to press a button for the pop-up camera.

Anyway my main ball-and-chain holding my on this smartphone is I need/want only a couple of apps - spotify, Google Podcasts and Google Maps everything else I can consume on my laptop, Taking Photographs would be good on the dumb smartphone which can be synced in the background.

Rather than build from the ground up another device maybe a locked-down custom Android ROM with support for a small number of Smart Phones would be the way forward with a smaller app ecosystem a dedicated Android App Store or a chopped down version of the Google App Store (if that were possible).

Maybe a bog standard basic android device from a Android Phone OEM may suffice as the dumb phone people seem to be using Nokia burner phones and Classic Ipods for music, maybe a Galaxy S2 generic rip-off will be overkill for the “Dumb Smartphone”

Access to Spotify or other music apps, maps and maybe other apps with a build-in timer to give the user say 60 minutes per day of Internet or Gmail.

But no access to fakebook insta whatever or any of the other Addictive brain draining apps that people like me who have an aversion to smart phones wont make it onto the Dumb Smartphone. I feel in a less distracted world we could get real work done.

Anyway rather than this being a thread of discussion on whats not productive and what is. Can anyone shed some light on the technical hurdles involved in flashing roms and custom app stores. Please

Your quest seems a bit odd because you want privacy but you still want privacy invading apps like Google Maps. Lineage OS has official support for OP7P, so you could go that way. If you can find a build with microG instead of Gapps, that would do something for your privacy because there is no Gapps / Google Play telemetry embedded.

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Phone… This should be a device used only for voice calls and sending / receiving sms. As God originally wanted. :slight_smile:

Everything else should be treated as separate laptop-class devices or smaller strange inventions for surfing the Internet. :slight_smile:


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A smartphone is indeed the perfect media for collecting information about and surveilling people. Even more sinister is that today too many people are more or less inert without their precious smartphone…

I long for the return, of a dumm phone [esp. with a phys. QWERTY keyboard!?]


I don’t think I mentioned privacy as a factor just a phone that does less stuff and is less smart with apps that are essential and won’t zap your attention for hours out of the day.

I want to spent more time in the flow state. But hey more privacy is better, can one have google maps without the rest of google apps?

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Not quite dumb, but damnit I loved Blackberry’s. I think I owned 6 or 7 and I loved every one of them. Would love to have a modern form of a Blackberry.

There was a Key2 model in the mid 2010s. But sadly people have moved on to screen keyboards. The added parts and repair complexity isnt helping too.

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You can use a work profile with shelter to sandbox gapps and use aurora store to get playstore apps

Iirc suggesting this. Oh yeah here

You can have shelter automatically hibernate inactive apps to reduce the distracting push notifications and remove it from your home screen making it less tempting to open and kill time

Apparently yes but I have not tried it.

I have not run a Google Android installation for a long time, but my phone with Android 11 (Lineage OS 18 with microG) does not make much noise. It has no background processes draining the battery to serve me stuff I might (not) want, so I’m happy with it.

One of the first things in controlling the device would be to use a firewall and block everything except what the user needs at the moment.

Observing the network traffic of an average device from cheap Chinese brands, you may get a headache from the number of applications trying to establish communication with the base.

It’s also a good idea to pass dns queries through, for example, pi-hole. In the case of a device in the wild, it would also be possible, not just lan.

Also keep in mind that Android without root complicates your life and does not allow you to control udp traffic. Which would be good to block / control outside the device.

If the unruly application even comes into possession of the information then it will be hard for it to send it out into the world if where completely blocked.

Of course, this will not solve the problem of the applications we want them to have Internet access…