Fairphone published its own version of Android, for everyone to download and to install on their Fairphone 2. The launch of this open operating system is the next step in achieving their goals to improve transparency, longevity and ownership.
At the start of 2016, Fairphone launched code.fairphone.com, an open source and development website. By publishing the source code, Fairphone invited everyone and anyone to contribute to the ecosystem of the Fairphone 2. Making this code run on a Fairphone 2 required some technical skills, and now they are making the code available in an easy-to-use form, so anyone can download and install it.
The Fairphone Open Source OS includes the standard Android operating system (version 5.1) plus all the special Fairphone features. Google Mobile Services (GMS) are NOT included, so you will need to find alternatives for things like email, maps, a browser and more. Once you start looking, you’ll be surprised by how many options are available, such as F-Droid, an alternative app store. Also, in this version, root access can be easily enabled via the developer settings.
Going forward, the Fairphone Open Source OS will get the same support, regular updates and security fixes as the “normal” Fairphone OS with Google services, but please be aware that there may be a short timespan between releasing an update for each version in a given cycle.