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Linux for Mobile? How good is it, and does it give the Android experience?


Android Enthusiast
Feb 20, 2023
My next phone will probably be either a Vollaphone X23 (removable battery, pure AOSP without Google services and the option to dual-boot Ubuntu, Or maybe a Pinephone Pro Also with a removable battery ans most things are user replaceable - just no Android only Linux (and there are quite a few mobile Linux distros for it now.)
How are the mobile Linux distributions? And particularly: Do they give you the Android experience? That is: Do they run Android apps, do they give you the Android navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen (back, desktop, switch apps), etc.?
The only mobile Linux distros I knew of were Tizen and Meego, both of which are pretty dead. Dead like Symbian. Meego died in 2011, while Tizen I think might still be on Samsung's TV platform, but their watches no longer utilize it, having gone WearOS since the Watch 4+, and I don't think Samsung ever made a recent smartphone using Tizen.

Meego actually looked quite modern in 2011 on the Nokia N9:

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@Windroid - the Pinephone Pro and original Pinephone are pure Linux, but the Vollaphone runs vanilla AOSP without Google services as standard, and can dual boot Ubuntu mobile (UBPorts) - the main thing is they all have removable batteries. The original pinephone has s dock and can connect USB keyboard & Mouse and a monitor so can be used as a desktop.
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I have heard of postmarketOS. It gives both a desktop/android experience as shown in its wiki
Perhaps, but that doesn't necessarily make it the Linux-Android hybrid I'm hoping for.

#1: Can it run Android apps? That's the most important thing. Windows, to it's credit, can do that.

#2: Does it have the Android/iOS style swiping and launcher? Windows doesn't, it has it's own swiping system and lacks a tablet-style launcher.

#3: Can the Google Play store be installed onto it? It can't on Windows.

#4: Does it have the desktop-style minimize/maximize/close buttons at the upper left? Windows does, and that makes it poorly suited as a tablet OS, because it's easy to press the close button by mistake.
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