The options, as previously laid out, boiled down to:
- Using a modified Android version on an existing phone.
- Getting a phone with a version of Android installed.
- Getting a phone with a mobile version of Linux installed.
So, which way did I go? All three.
I'm currently weighing usage of three different setups.
I have a Google Pixel 4a running Lineage OS.
I have a Teracube 2e running /e/OS, a modified version of Lineage OS.
I have a Pine64 phone running a mobile version of Manjaro Linux.
This past week is when I finally got all three setups running, and I have some initial thoughts, though these may change over time.
First, the Linux phone isn't working all that great. I don't know if it's the phone or if it's the mobile version of Manjaro Linux that is the problem, but it's a problem. It reminds me of when BlackBerry tried to launch a touch-screen interface. You may not remember that, but it was a very bad experience.
I loved my regular BlackBerry at the time, and when I they launched a touch interface, I considered moving from Android back to BlackBerry. However, I had the opportunity to try it out ahead of time, and it was a terrible experience. It was buggy, it was sluggish, and it was not going to get my business.
I never knew if it was the hardware wasn't good enough, or if the software wasn't good enough, but the overall package wasn't good enough. That's how I feel about this Pine64 phone setup. Maybe the phone hardware is inferior. Maybe the software isn't where it needs to be in regards to a touch interface. Whatever the issue is, I'm not liking the Pine64/Manjaro setup. But, I'll keep using it and seeing how it does.
The Teracube 2e running /e/OS is running well. I've had this setup the longest, and the only problem has been finding a carrier that works. There have been no issues with the usage of the phone and interface, though. Right now, though, the current carrier is working, so that's a good sign. It's light years ahead of the Pine64/Manjaro setup.
The most recent setup is the Google Pixel 4a running Lineage OS. I had some issues setting it up, but finally found a solution to the issue I had. And, it's going okay so far. I've had no trouble with a carrier supporting the phone, and so far the OS is working well.
So, for the next month, I'll be using all three phones and making a determination on which is the best. Then, I'll have to weigh it against my current phone setup, and decide if I want to actually make the switch or not.
I really like the idea of a phone that doesn't send all of my data back to some source that sells my data to others. Or even keeping it for themselves. It just doesn't sit well with me. But, that's a decision I'll make later. Right now, I'm going to be comparing these three phones and their setups and deciding which works best for me.