Linux Phones

Murena One, a smartphone that promises to respect your privacy

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Are you looking for a smartphone that respects your privacy? If so, you should take a look at Murena One, a device originating from the company founded by the creator of Mandrake, Gaël Duval. If we pull antecedents, we can already guess that the operating system to use will be /e/formerly known as eelo and which is a fork of the popular LineageOS.

Something paradoxical has happened in the smartphone sector, and that is that, despite the greater diversity of hardware manufacturers compared to what is seen in the x86 spectrum, alternative operating systems are having a much more difficult time due to the presence of the great dictator of the sector: WhatsApp.

On the other hand, we have concerns about privacy, which in the Android spectrum has reached alarming levels due to the omnipresence of Google and the introduction of advertising in applications, although this last circumstance gives rise to a debate with many nuances.

As for its hardware features, since that is usually the first thing you look at on a smartphone, Murena One incorporates a 6.53-inch IPS LCD display operating at a resolution of 1,080×2,242 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9; a configuration with triple rear camera with 48, 8 and 5 megapixel sensors and with HDR support; plus a 25-megapixel selfie camera.

Murena One front and rear

As for its internal components, as a SoC it equips a Mediatek Helio P60 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for expandable data via microSD. The battery is Li-Ion type, 4,500mAh and is not removable. It supports Dual SIM and otherwise has nothing that is not standard in a smartphone for years, although it would be important to note that as mobile connection supports 4G LTE and not 5G, while the supported Bluetooth version is 4.2.

Yes, at the hardware level we are not facing anything in the other world, but in a device of this type the value is not focused there, but in the software. /e/ promises to be more privacy-friendly than most Android implementations on the market because uses MicroG, an open source implementation of Google’s proprietary Android user space applications and libraries. MicroG offers open source components to use Google Maps, Google Play services, Google Cloud, messaging, geolocation, and some basic smartphone features.

In addition to putting an end to some Google services with MicroG, /e/ replaces some services by using the Murena’s own search engine, a mapping application based on OpenStreetMap and Mozilla’s location serviceElivia-AI as a replacement for Google Assistant and avoid using the search giant’s servers for DNS and NTP.

The applications are served through the Lounge application, which is responsible for connecting with the Play Store for commercial applications, which requires a Google account, and with F-Droid for those that are published as open source. For Progressive Web Apps (PWA) it connects to the API, CleanAPK, but Duval has commented here: “We are going to remove this dependency on CleanAPK and host our own proxy cache for open source apps”.

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/e/ promises not to capture any user logs, which includes apps that don’t rely on Google services. In addition to that, it offers 1GB of free storage in the cloud through Murena’s own service and makes available an office suite based on OnlyOffice.

We’ll see how Murena One fares, whose price is 351.90 euros in the official storealthough it is not necessary to buy said smartphone to enjoy /e/, since the Android ROM can be obtained independently and is compatible with more than 200 smartphone models.

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