I'm looking for a trustworthy, up-to-date, cheap and legally moddable mobile phone OS that runs on an affordable phone. To let you know what my requirements are, I have to tell you a story.

Since 2007, I've always been using Sony Ericsson feature phones. Sony Ericsson C510 was so powerful. It could have lots of apps, MSN (via eBuddy), Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Opera Mini, VibeJive (music composer), PaintCAD(pixel art drawing program), and so much more.

Today, nobody cares about that good old J2ME programming environment because Android has flooded the market. Thereby, I was forced to buy an Android. I'll explain my experience with that in the next paragraph. When I bought another Sony Ericsson phone after C510 died, I've realized that it's worthless. It can't do anything. Facebook app doesn't work, downloadable Facebook apps don't want to get installed at all, Opera Mini can't process so much JavaScript that today's websites have, when Microsoft bought Skype, J2ME Skype Lite stopped working because Skype moved servers to Microsoft (as much as I think), eBuddy rejected MSN because Microsoft replaced it with Skype. So basically I couldn't even IM with my friends in any way other than finding some simple JavaScript browser-based IM service.

From all the Androids that I've had, I would always seek for those that are less than $148 (1000 Croatian Kunas) because I couldn't afford anything more than that. Because of that, I would get only 512MB of RAM where 400MB is already used by the system. The system is fighting for RAM because of launching useless apps on its own (startup blocker, app killers, etc. don't help!) so when I launch app #1 and then app #2, the app #1 gets killed because there was no space. Actually, there was, but Android OS kept loading other apps without my consent and instead of shutting that useless piece of junk down, it shut down my important stuff that were open! So in order to have my Android phone work, I need like 1GB of RAM and a good manufacturer that will make the OS more efficient so that then I can maybe barely run multiple things at once without glitching.

I was thinking of iPhone, but that's way expensive. There's also no Bluetooth file transfer. DRM is everywhere. In the EULA, Apple can spy on my camera and microphone whenever they want which means that any hacker can do so as well.

Then, I was thinking about open-source phone OS-es like Firefox OS or Ubuntu Phone, but I don't think that would install well on my existing phone. I'm not even sure will I have apps that I need. And I don't know will they be cheaper than $148.

Here's my list of apps that I need to have:

  1. Stable tab-based web browser with speed dial and mustn't shut down when I close the last tab, but instead show me the Speed Dial (like Opera). It must be compatible with deviantART, Facebook, YouTube, Tapatalk sites, phpBB sites, Hotmail (must be able to download and upload attachments), Newgrounds, Google+, Stack Exchange sites, sites that use Bootstrap.
  2. If any of these sites don't work in part or completely in the browser, then there needs to be an app for those
  3. Regular phone stuff (phonebook, call history, messages (SMS, MMS), organizer stuff (Calendar(without having to sync with any accounts like Android does!), Calculator, Tasks, Notes, Alarms, Countdown, Stopwatch))
  4. Multimedia stuff (photo shooting, video recording, voice recording, audio player (that can play from file manager without adding to a play list, can make new playlists, can play from albums/authors/etc., must support MP3, MP4, OGG, MIDI(the soundfont of the MIDI file mustn't be too quiet like on Android), WAV and if possible WMA), video player (must support 3GP, MP4 and if possible WMV and AVI))
  5. File manager (must be able to display all files from the root as well as hidden files, must work like on Windows (new folder, new file, copy, move, delete, rename, properties(must display all dates: created, modified and accessed)))
  6. Gallery viewer (must be able to zoom smoothly (in case of pixel art, it must be 100%, 200%, 300%, etc. sharp and not broken), change background while viewing transparent pictures like PNG and GIF)
  7. Hex editor
  8. Text editor (with different file encodings)
  9. PDF reader
  10. MS Office file reader, creator and modifier
  11. MIDI editor/creator
  12. Picture editor (must edit pictures of all sizes, formats: BMP, PNG, GIF, JPG; must be able to animate GIFs)
  13. Video editor (something at least like VideoDJ for Sony Ericsson phones)
  14. GPS app with navigation and satelite maps
  15. USB Mass Storage mode instead of MTP (because it doesn't work well on my PC when copying big files)

From the hardware, it must have:

  1. Front and back (at least 2MP) camera
  2. Regular audio jack with microphone contact
  3. Bluetooth, WiFi (host and join), GPS
  4. At least 1GB of internal storage
  5. SD card slot supporting at least 8GB of capacity
  6. Hardware keys for text input (must be able to input visible characters from the standard ASCII table, plus diacritics for Croatian language (čćžšđČĆŽŠĐ))
  7. USB connectivity for file transfer with PC

Does anyone know if there's a phone that suits these requirements?

  • 2
    Please note this site is about recommending software, not hardware – so this seems off-topic. For details, please refer to Are hardware recommendations on-topic?
    – Izzy
    Sep 5, 2015 at 16:01
  • 1
    Is there something like a device reccomendation site? I would like to move this question there.
    – Foxcat385
    Sep 5, 2015 at 16:25
  • Not to my knowledge, sorry.
    – Izzy
    Sep 5, 2015 at 16:29
  • This would be on-topic at hardwarerecs.stackexchange.com
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Jul 20, 2018 at 3:17

1 Answer 1


I think it might be worth your while taking a look at the various "Open" hardware and software mobile phones on offer or nearing completion, e.g.:

  • Project Ara Yes still Android but the price break should be met even with a good memory space
  • Other PhoneBloks members

Also you should look into the various efforts to build Linux images to run on existing mobile hardware to see if the sort of software you are looking for is available and there is an active community developing for the hardware you either have or can pick up within your budget.

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