The success of Android has brought Linux to many millions of new users and that, in turn, has increased the development community for Linux itself. But those who value free software and privacy can be forgiven for seeing Android as a step backward in some ways; Android systems include significant amounts of proprietary software, and they report vast amounts of information back to the Google mothership. But Android is, at its heart, an open-source system, meaning that it should be possible to cast it into a more freedom- and privacy-respecting form. Your editor has spent some time working on that goal; the good news is that it is indeed possible to create a (mostly) free system on the Android platform.
Meanwhile, some claim AOSP is a “featurephone” and a “barebones husk”. It’s always nice to see reality beat punditry.
I can boast using a linux phone that, while not 100%, is much more open and free than android and doesn’t report everything about you to google and/or NSA.
So you get about 1000 apps in fdroid vs 1,200,000 in google play. Feature phone sounds about right. Email, calendar, and maps doesn’t make a smartphone anymore. Of course you can get apps outside of fdroid but increasingly with google play services android is a google experience. Not that there is anything wrong with that