/e/ is (maybe) the perfect Android for your grandparents; Should /e/ aim at beeing the perfect OS for grandparents?

Hi,
I want to start this thread for a discussion about the target group of /e/.

/e/ aims to be an easy to use, privacy by desing OS. The goal is to create an OS, thats usable by everyone, even normal, non tech savvy people.
My impression is that the consent among the current /e/ users in this forum is that /e/ is still on the way to achive this goal and it is still quite a long way to go to compete with the features of Samsung, G**gle etc.

But I think we (more precisely the /e/ developers) nearly achieved the goals of /e/ in a special target group: our grandparents.

Yep, I think the least tech-savvy (I know, thats an oversimplification but you get the point) people in our life may be the ones that /e/ fits the best.

Let’s take my grandparents (and my aunt) as an example.
The last months I bought two new SamsungA52 for them as there old ones received no updates for about two years and had only 8GB internal storage.
I like tech and I like to play with it, but the set up of those phones was an awful experience. Full of dark patterns, useless bloatware, every preinstalled app you open asks you to accept terms and conditions. My grandpa watched me and everytime I clicked “accept”, I told him, there is no other way to use the phone in a decent way and that he should not care.
Of course I felt really bad. Before I bought those phones I just forgot how bad the situation concerning privacy on OEM Androids really is.

After this experience I started to think about an privacy friendly alternative that is usable for my relatives and came to the conclusion that the solution is right in my Hand. /e/ is nearly perfect for this task.

They use their phones to stay in touch with me and my family mostly via (unfortunally) Whatsapp. Besides this they look for the weather forecast, search for things in the internet and sometimes they use Google Maps for navigation. Thats it. They dont’t need more. Nearly everything beyond this adds just complexity without any benefit. No Samsung Account with things like Samsung Pay, Store, Passwords or Knox is needed nor wished.
They dont’t need a Google Account or GMail. They just have one to download the few apps named above.

/e/ provides all needed features without any fancy superduper features you absolutely don’t need.

What’s my point?
/e/ managed to meet the needs of those first, that are perceived as those, that are the hardest targetgroup to satisfy with an open source project still in development.

Unfortunally I realised this only by setting up an OEM Android.
Thats why I write this post.
/e/ may be a great Android OS for your less techy relatives, even though you as a Android enthusiast may sometimes struggle to get the full experience you know from OEMs. Your grandparents dont’t need the full experience.

What are your thoughts about this topic?
As you may recognized I wrote “/e/ is NEARLY perfect for your grandparents”. What do you think needs to be changed to be the perfect OS for Grandparents and should /e/ aim at beeing the perfect OS for grandparents?

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I also love the efficient and minimalist selection of defaulf apps
Even If i liked a phone without microG

I am agree with you, about setting up /e/ is nearly a pleasure compared to a vendor one like Samsung.

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Hello, I felt the same installing the last android smartphone that I offered.
I had to “accept” a lot of conditions without accepting them. Even calculator or radio wants to record your location or wants to record sounds from the microphone…??? :thinking:

But, my opinion is, /e/ can be the right answer for many categories of users, including less techy AND techy users too.
I’m spending all my day with tech issues, and that is why I love to use a simple and working system like /e/ at least for my smartphone… :slightly_smiling_face:

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Dunno grandparents but for non technical it is quite good because it is simple. It has been working well for my wife who uses email accounts I set up, the browser occasionally, and added Viber to communicate with her family. And the maps app but she mostly still uses the Garmin GPS.

In my use I find the Magic Earth Maps better than Google Maps based on features and not tracking. For basic navigation it seems to work great so far. But the search is very weak on it. Many times I have had to use Google to search for a location and then put the address in manually. And for me I used Maps like Yellow Pages (if anyone remembers those? a phone book for businesses) and there’s no phone integration or info even.
Biggest thing to add for older people is accessibility for increasing font size easily and big numbers on the dialpad. Slightly sarcastic but also not, spam filters on email and text and some kind of “remote help” to let you in to fix Mom’s phone or show her how to do something.

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Could be good for elderly users, but maybe even better at the other end of the age range… Children getting their first phone from their parents.

With /e/ the parent knows their child will be tracked/analyzed/targeted less, can lead by example and show the child how to re-use old hardware and be environmentally conscious, let the child explore and learn the benefits of community contribution and open source culture. Plus the cost saving of not having to buy new phones / replacing them when security updates stop.

And then, when the child experiences a new android phone and sees just how much privacy they have to give away, they might realize how bizarre and unnecessary that is, and that they don’t have to agree to all those greedy terms of use in order to have a fully functioning phone.

Plus they might tell all their friends about it, and they can use it in school projects - science class etc.

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that’s a good point. When the children learn the difference of an OEM Android and an privacy friendly, open source OS on their own, it is for sure more effective than just telling them to not use Google.

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yes, some more accessibility features would be helpful. But by increasing the font size through the android settings and using the bliss launcher you can adjust /e/ right now for the use by elderly people.
Particularly the bliss launcher is appropriate for them. It is really easy. All apps on one to two pages, no app drawer or widgets.
The possibility to remove some preinstalled apps during setup would make it even better. So you can remove apps to your (and your loved ones) needs like the notes and tasks apps, the music app and maybe even calender and the standard /e/ browser (using firefox).
Such a stripped down setup would be perfect for some of my relatives. As you wrote, it is really simple to use. Maybe so easy, even a remote help tool would be unnecessary as no questions appear that are not solvable by a phone call :slight_smile:

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I can’t think of a reason why EVERYONE wouldn’t benefit from starting with the bare nuts and bolts (making sure that runs perfectly), and then adding as much (or as little) as you need/want.

I think that was the original vision of Android’s first creators.

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I agree wholeheartedly. One of the things I noticed about this OS was that minimalism of the apps which I loved (as I’ve detailed elsewhere I could do without the Music app since it needed replacement anyway), and I only needed to install a few apps and I learned how to do without a lot of apps I thought I “needed.”
I would love it if people realized that OSes like /e/, Lineage, etc can be so much better for them.

Maybe /e/ should highlight its OS more like “currently easy to use and on our way to expand features” instead of “we are on our way at beeing an easy to use, privacy friendly OS”.

But that is specifically not /e/'s vision. Having a phone OS where the apps that most people need work ‘out of the box’ is one of the ‘/e/ OS Key Features’ . From the website

With /e/ you’ll find a set of carefully selected default apps to cover your most common needs, personal and professional: get you email, plan your week ahead, chat with your friends and coworkers, browse the web, check the weather, check your itinerary for your next meeting…

If you want a minimal, de-googled phone, install LineageOS4MicroG

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Hi there, I’m the newb in the room :wink:
I follow /e/ development since 2018…from an Iphone(!). The only reason I didn’t installed it yet is that I had to get a used android and risk wasting it while installing. I’m sure /e/ is easy to use once installed but that first step of installation is what refrained me for 3 years and believe me, that step is enough to keep my parents or grandparents far far from /e/.

That being said, with the surveillance capitalism clutching in 3rd gear lately I’ve felt the urgency, got a Zenfone 3 at a fair price and I’m ready to dive.

Sorry if I’ missed the point from the original subject…my grandparents could also buy a preloaded /e/ smartphone…I would have done the same but it’s backorder right now in Canada

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But these things could be “add-on packs”, for people who will use them. Something like

Productivity pack (office software)

Multimedia pack (photo and video editor, enhanced camera app, etc)

Financials pack (support for banking and pay apps)

Geeks pack (Root access, micromanage settings).

I think most people would rather have extra space for photos and the apps they DO use instead of apps they WON’T use.

Of course, there’s an alternative. Make all but the basic functionality apps removable by the user (as opposed to disabling them).

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I assumed degoogling was the main point, since that was what led me to it in the first place.

Lineage is a possibility, but as far as I know it’s a geeks only thing, with no plans on offering it on retail phones. Hardly grandma and grandpa (which j am one) compatible.

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I believe that /e/ os could be great solution for non-tech people to reach deGoogled phone out of the box. Currently I am using LineageOS as my phone is not supported yet by /e/ however from what I read and see on YouTube it seems to be easier to use by regular people. :grin: Great job :grinning:

grand- fathers and mothers in my vicinity do run /e/ since July, coming from iOS. They’ll be fine for the core competency, voice calls, messengers… will for sure run into a playstore qrcode they can’t install from some tourism bureau, I explained.

I mostly worry about handhelds taking over sovereign functions, passports, banking, insurance, health… handhelds are computing for the masses, so even Grandma needs that insurance app to handle the bureaucracy and this can be deal breakers - we need legislation to be allowed modified software without discrimination… huh this got pitchfork-y… haven’t heard complaints yet and to anticipate problems I use the same model as them.

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Totally agree with this, and the fact that we occassionaly need apps that could be problematic on /e/ and dont even want on the phone most of the time anyway.

One option I am tending towards is to have a dedicated cheap android or refurbished iphone specifically for these purposes.
Keep this device turned off in a drawer (where it can’t listen in :persevere:), turn it on when needed.
I can choose to use my every day sim, or I might get a sim specifically for that deivce.
I can share this device with others in the household for this purpose, everyone just has to use their own (or their ‘other’) sim.

I’ll use the /e/ phone for daily life.

Yes it adds more expense, but at least then I dont have to worry about /e/ being able to function for every app, and I dont have to have apps that I dont like on my daily /e/ phone, and my daily sim number will not be associated with all those private/gov services.

Not ideal, but that is the situation. The more and more things (gov services etc) that require a phone, the more I am favourable to this route, and having a separate sim. And jumping onto the next available planet…

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I totally agree with you. If I will be forced to use all those apps, than I would buy a cheap Android phone or iPhone in order to keep it at home and turn on only for necessary situations. I have the filling that nowadays privacy costs … what else I can say. I am glad that my bank didn’t force me yet to use the app. However I don’t know for how long it will be possibile.

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