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Thread: Android alternative?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Android alternative?

    Hi all!

    There's something about Android that just really annoys me: control.

    I have no control over things. Mobile doesn't seem to be so much as "your desktop where ever you are" as "someone else's desktop, the way they think you want it, without the ability to change things".

    Some of this is to do with software. For instance, I'm big on online privacy/security, but at the same time, do like the ability not to have to enter the username/password on every single site (and often having to reset the password if I've forgotten it, which I inevitably will). My settings for Firefox are thus: ability to save passwords, and history/cookies, but the history/cookies are to be deleted when I've finished browsing (and close the browser). Adblock is also used to stop any adverts (which REALLY annoy me). :@ Last I checked, there just wasn't an option for this in Firefox for Android.

    However, some of it is just to do with Android it seems. For instance, I can only disable certain default programs, I can't purge them. I've read that rooting might help (and keep meaning to get round to testing this out), but knowing myself I've still the feeling that something would annoy me.

    What would be nice is a genuine "desktop in your pocket" experience. More than nice, that would be ideal, since carrying even a laptop&charger around the house (let alone anywhere else) is a pain. I've looked into replacing Android, but I've no idea how I'd go about this...has anyone done it? If so, what were your experiences like, and what with? I've read that devices need to be "flashed" - I've only heard this before in the context of replacing a BIOS, is it not possible simply to install from a .iso on a USB stick?

    Moreover...am I just expecting too much? Am I misusing the tablet I have (Asus TF201), and expecting too much? My feeling is that if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck, and the TF201 certainly FEELS like a lightweight laptop (at least when docked) and so I should be able to treat it as such. Am I missing something?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Re: Android alternative?

    Not sure about your tablet, but there are complete Linux distros for some tablets. However, they need to be compiled for each specific device to keep things running efficiently. Hence, your best bet is to intermittently search for Ubuntu and your device on google.
    Remember that apart from Android, none are specific to touch screens, so you may find usability more irritating than software and data freedom.
    I've recently rooted and installed Cyanogenmod on my phone. It allows you to remove whatever you want, and doesn't even include Google apps as default.
    Just beware that manufacturers are even less accommodating with broken phones and tablets due to rooting and OS replacement than on computers.

    Short answer: yes your phone /tablet can be a computer, but they are so new and specific that you may have to compile your own OS, and use a GUI that works poorly with touch screens (and lose your warranty into the bargain ).

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Re: Android alternative?

    Quote Originally Posted by ugm6hr View Post
    Not sure about your tablet, but there are complete Linux distros for some tablets. However, they need to be compiled for each specific device to keep things running efficiently. Hence, your best bet is to intermittently search for Ubuntu and your device on google.
    Remember that apart from Android, none are specific to touch screens, so you may find usability more irritating than software and data freedom.
    I've recently rooted and installed Cyanogenmod on my phone. It allows you to remove whatever you want, and doesn't even include Google apps as default.
    Just beware that manufacturers are even less accommodating with broken phones and tablets due to rooting and OS replacement than on computers.

    Short answer: yes your phone /tablet can be a computer, but they are so new and specific that you may have to compile your own OS, and use a GUI that works poorly with touch screens (and lose your warranty into the bargain ).
    What's your experience with Cyanogenmod? I've heard bits and bobs, but not really looked into it since it seemed to be Android still. Maybe I was a little too dismissive though?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Re: Android alternative?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArminasAnarchy View Post
    What's your experience with Cyanogenmod? I've heard bits and bobs, but not really looked into it since it seemed to be Android still. Maybe I was a little too dismissive though?
    I use CM7 (which is based on the old Gingerbread Android). It's as good as Android, but allows more control over installed apps. Ont the upside, some of the features of Jelly Bean have been back-ported to CM7 (intelligent dialler being an example).

    I believe the TF201 has CM10 available - so your experience is likely to be different.

    Importantly, the underlying Linux base of CM/Android is limited, so the number of bash commands it recognises is miniscule by my experience.

    If you're happy with Android as an entity, and don't mind risking your warranty, it's worth using. However, I suspect you won't notice much improvement in computing speed etc, since your tablet has plenty of grunt to run your default Android, along with its extra baggage. In fact, I also have a Nexus 7 (with Jelly Bean Android), on which I have left my stock Android, since I see no reason to root / change the OS.

    Furthermore, the apps on CM are no different than Android, so apart from removing all the unsightly excess baggage, replacing the OS adds little. "Rooting" will likely achieve the same freedom, albeit from your existing pre-installed base (and without the safety of knowing your tablet will still work afterwards).

    The question really is, "What do you want to do with your tablet?" Once you've worked this out, then decide if you want to try CM. I can recommend it. But I think it only fair to let you know, I only use it because my phone (Samsung Galaxy ACe) has so little internal storage / RAM that without CM it was unusable after installation of a few apps alongside the compulsory apps my carrier had put on it.

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