The developers of the operating system /e/OS have been offering an Android-based operating system for five years without Google’s proprietary apps and services. In recent years you have even been able to buy phones that come with /e/OS pre-installed, first in Europe, and more recently in North America.
But until recently, that meant buying a third-party phone whose default software had been replaced by this “deGoogleized” Android. Now the Foundation has launched a proprietary phone called the Murena One.
The Murena One will be available in the US, Canada, Europe, UK and Switzerland in June, and it will retail for $379, $479 CAD, £291, €346 and CHF 292 respectively in each of these regions.
Like all phones sold by the e Foundation, the Murena One comes without Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Search or any other proprietary software that comes with most Android phones sold in countries other than China . .
For one thing, it might make the phones a little less useful for some users. But it also makes them much better suited to people who value privacy. Google makes most of its money from advertising, and much of that comes in the form of tracking software that monitors user behavior.
Some people may choose to opt out of this tracking altogether by using a Linux phone…but mobile Linux is still a work in progress and only a handful of phones come preloaded with Linux software. A deGoogleized Android phone offers the benefits of a robust, open-source operating system very similar to the software already shipped on billions of devices. And most Android apps will run on an /e/OS device, including many that normally rely on Google Mobile services, thanks to the use of microG.
That said, the Murena One is clearly not the phone for people who want the fastest processor, the most RAM, or the best cameras. It’s a decidedly mid-range device with a MediaTek Helio P60 processor, just 4GB of RAM and an FHD+ LCD screen. And unlike some phones aimed at enthusiasts, it doesn’t have a user-replaceable battery…although it does Is have a microSD card reader and headphone jack.
Here is an overview of the main features of the Murena One:
|Specifications Murena One|
2242 x 1080 pixels
|Processor||MediaTek Helio P60
4 Cortex-A73 processor cores at 2 GHz
4 Cortex-A53 processor cores at 2 GHz
ARM Mali-G72 Graphics
Based on a version of LineageOS… based on Android 10
|Cameras||48MP + 8MP + 5MP (rear) primary
|Battery||4,500 mAh (not removable)|
microSD card reader
4G LTE (bands: B1 / B2 / B3 / B5 / B7 / B8 / B12 / B13 / B17 / B20 / B28 / B38 / B40 / B41)
3G (bands: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8)
Dual nano SIM (one slot shared with microSD card reader)
|Other||Fingerprint reader (side mounted)
|Dimensions||161.8 x 76.9 x 8.9mm|
|Price||$379 / CA$479 / £291 / €346|
According to the e Foundation, the Murena One is carrier unlocked, comes with a 2-year warranty, and will receive software updates and security updates for at least 3 years (with updates typically rolling out every two months).
One thing to keep in mind though, is that in addition to shipping without some of the software that many people typically associate with Android phones, the Murena One comes with what is essentially a fork of a android forks. The /e/OS software is based on LineageOS, an operating system derived from code from Google’s Android Open Source Project. In this case, the phone comes with the latest version of /e/OS, but this is based on Android 10, which is a rather old version of Google’s operating system. Most modern phones come with Android 12, while Google is gearing up to launch Android 13 later this year.
If you want to get an idea of what the Murena One can and can’t do, The Verge has some hands-on experience.
via Murena Launch Event