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This Google-less Android smartphone is meant for privacy

It’s privacy-focused for users who care about that more than convenience.

murena one smartphone with front and back views on a purple background

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Ever wondered what it would be like to run an Android phone without Google being everywhere? That’s what Murena aims to accomplish. The $379 Murena One is the first device from the company, and it tries its best to be Google-less.

That’s right, someone decided to de-Google the Android operating system. Gael Duval decided to do something about the amount of data collection his smartphone did, saying “Like millions of others, I’VE BECOME A PRODUCT OF GOOGLE.”

That moment of realization became the privacy-focused /e/OS. Used on devices from Fairphone and Teracube, it’s de-Googled so no Google services touch your data.

Murena had to make a whole bunch of new apps to replace Google, from a messaging app, to a web browser, a maps app, email, calendar, file-storage, contacts, and more. There’s even a new virtual assistant in the works, called Elivia.

READ MORE: Privacy-focused Murena Android smartphone makes its debut

That’s not to say that you can’t install some Google apps if you wanted. Murena’s App Lounge does have some of Google’s apps, but it’s designed to not show Google your identity when you download them, or when you use them.

It’s a small concession to how hard it is to de-Google the Android operating system.

The Murena One is a no-frills, no-Google phone

The Murena One seems to feature what you’d expect from a $379 device. It’s got 128GB of storage, 4G LTE, dual-SIM, and a 6.53-inch IPS LCD screen. Powered by the Mediatek Helio P60, it’s got 4GB of RAM, a 4,500 mAh battery, and a microSD card slot.

The primary camera is a 48MP sensor, a secondary 8MP camera, and a 25MP selfie cam. We’re not sure what the image quality is like, but Murena says it splurged on the sensors as they know people won’t use smartphones without them.

We’ve got to applaud Murena’s efforts, even if it will probably take someone with more resources than a startup to create a truly Google-less smartphone. Even Huawei is struggling, and they were a top-five smartphone maker.

And no, Apple doesn’t count as a “Google-less smartphone.” We can’t forget the billions of dollars Google gives Apple yearly so that Google is the default search engine on its devices.

That’s before you consider all the Google apps in the App Store, or even what Apple does with your data in terms of selling advertising, etc.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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