Prospects for an accessible and open version of Android?

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Tue Jun 16 16:59:33 UTC 2020

Someone said:
> ... you might be better off starting with a Raspberry Pi if you want a more vanilla Linux/GNU experience on a pocket-sized computer than what Android offers...

The Raspberry Pi is a great piece of hardware, with a truly amazing number of interface options.  I followed the F123/VOISS effort with great interest and am now following Stormux.  However, the RasPi isn't a great starting point for a truly portable (i.e., palmtop) computer system.  Size and weight issues aside, there is the problem of how to support "instant on" capability (e.g., for use as a notetaker).

Because my Android cell phone has power management and sleep mode support, it can run for more than a day on its built-in battery.  I haven't been able to find any reasonable way to get this kind of behavior on a RasPi.  Even idling, the power requirement over a day would drain any reasonable set of batteries.  Booting the device and shutting it down each time I want to use it would be very inconvenient.

A few billion Android cell phones have been manufactured and more are being made all the time.  After a few years, these get really cheap to buy, because the latest version of Android won't run on them.  So, why not repurpose them as blind-friendly computers, notetakers, etc?

And then said:
> ... unless there's some smartphones out there that support replacing their stock Android with the ARM version of more traditional distros.

Android phones can be reloaded with different boot and OS code.  My initial posting discussed several OS variants that start with the open source Android code, allowing them to use (some) APK apps (e.g., the Android Accessibility Suite).

The postmarketOS folks ( are taking a somewhat different approach.  They install a complete Linux system, based on Alpine Linux (  The system can't run APK apps yet, but this is a project goal.  For details, see the FAQ (

- Rich Morin

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