I'm not a fan of planned obsolescence, so I want a phone that will last. I currently have a Nexus 5, which is ~5 years old. Why I still like it: There are a lot of hardened kernels and tools for it due to its popularity; why I don't like it: battery life and trustability of the Google Play Store (2/10) and general privacy of the Google ecosystem. There is f-droid as a replacement app store for Android, but it has limited options and a different set of issues.
One of the biggest challenges today is trusting the hardware, and operating systems, in terms of threat model. This is a hard problem, that is not easily solvable. It involves pressure from nation states to backdoor the phones. In Asia, this is more likely a hardware concern, in the United States, the pressure that can come to an operating system vendor with a national security letter under the US PATRIOT Act. In Canada, our trusted Blackberry (RIM) was found to have provided the RCMP the private key for over 6 years.
As a result, I think we should be looking to support open hardware platforms. This should solve the planned obsolescence issue, and some of the security issues.
For example, I had the Neo Freerunner from OpenMoko, which was great philosophically but never really practical. For the hobbyist, there's the PiPhone and ZeroPhone, but they need even more work to be practical.
There's the Samsung Z4, although it has hardware and operating system concerns; but the most exciting phone in the near future is the Librem-5 from puri.sm. This phone has hardware toggles to turn off the microphone and camera when not in use, as well as Wifi/Bluetooth, and baseband. Amazing.
Not as open source, but a balance between ethics and solving planned obsolescence, and DIY, also check out the Fairphone 2.
So my requirements in order:
- Privacy & Security-centric
- Will last longer than most smart phones
- Ethical hardware
- Open hardware/Open Software
I'd love your thoughts on anything I'm missing in the comments.