De-Googled FAW?

My interest in FAWs may be a bit unique here. I’m into privacy and security, and was looking for a smart-watch option that is both private and fully functional.

Unfortunately, this just doesn’t seem to exist in the typical smart watch space, which is how I came to discover FAWs. Has there been any attempt to make a completely degoogled one of these? It can never be as secure as I want because they will always be out of date, but a FAW with no google services would be a really good value proposition for me as a companion to my phone!

Also, do any of these support esims?

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I believe that Android itself is a google product so I don’t think it’s possible to separate out google services. I haven’t seen any FAW that doesn’t require a physical SIM.


Android is an open source operating system. All of the Google services (or most) are not part of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). I don’t remember if Google acquired AOSP or if they fund it, but it is easy to built an operating system just using AOSP without any google services or telemetry built in, and it is very common among custom roms.

Regardless of whether or not Google technically owns Android, when someone says “deGoogled,” they are referring to this. I for example use a degoogled custom rom on my phone, and don’t have any google services on my phone at all. I was wondering if there was an equivalent solution here, since technically it should be possible and not as difficult as doing the same with something like wearos (for complicated reasons).

And thank you for your answer on the sim!

@Jeffrey_Swarens Correct about the E Sim.

@Imposing6358 You can use ADB to remove Google apps and system apps also. Strictly speaking, they are not deleted, they are only removed from the data partition. A factory reset brings everything back.
If the question is whether there will be a custom ROM without G apps, the answer is no.
A full Android watch with E SIM is also not to be expected.


Guess. I’m wrong. Sorry for the reply.

I may have not been clear with my first question. I wasn’t wondering anyone knew of any future plans for a custom ROM without google apps, but just if there were prior attempts to do so.

From a privacy perspective, Google services just being hidden doesn’t make much difference, but that’s a good detail to know.

Are there any FAWs with unlockable bootloader and kernel sources available?

They are not just hidden. It no longer takes up any storage space and there is no more data traffic.

There are some models for the Chinese market that do not have any G-Apps installed.
But believe me, especially when it comes to data protection, these are not alternatives, but simply a nightmare in a different color…

In my opinion, ADB and fastboot is what you are looking for. You might have a look at this thread:
-How to delete installed Apps on Android 10

I’m looking to see if it’s possible to maintain or create my own FOSS custom rom on one of these devices. For example becoming a maintainer of LineageOS for a compatible FAW so that people have a private FOSS option with up-to-date security.

And yeah haha I’m not looking to jump from one evil to another. I’ll also take a look at that thread. :pray:

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Should be possible to install a GSI ROM if you’re that eager to get a cleaner system. I’ve done it but it’s up to you to search for it, as for a matter of security among the new users we usually don’t discuss modifying filesystem (Say root, twrp, mtk-tools)

It’s just not possible to strip the current FAW or Original Firmware from Google Services as it has been built within the Google Framework and it has been created along the instructions of the main manufacturer.


With a GSI rom, could I have Android 14 on my watch via that rom? That honestly sounds perfect for my use case. All I see rn is Android 9 because the page I’m looking at is old.

Honestly I wouldn’t even know. GSI roms are something you must try and see if it works on your device, it’s not an all-compatible ROM for every device but in theory you should be able to update to the last Android if it boots at all.

Look for “Project Treble” if you want to know how a GSI rom works


Are you sure that a GSI ROM would have all the drivers you need? My hunch is that these watches have some exotic peripheral due to their size and origin (even tinier than a phone, Chinese lesser known peripherals). I’m new to FAWs, but the veterans talk about struggles with newer manufacturers and models. MTK chipset is more well known than Unisoc, and there are even newer ones are even lesser known than Unisoc? I wonder if GSI has all the support you need to run everything properly (bluetooth, wifi, SIM calling, texting, cameras, microphones, etc.) and the kernel to stand up in a decent posture.
Although this specific topic goes for privacy, so the OP may not even want wifi or bluetooth, but I think he wants it to be turned off by wish and not because the drivers don’t exist or fail to load and the system is just in shambles.

Exactly my thoughts! Rather have Google than whatever China puts on these things. Even though maybe the Google enabled models have even some spyware… everyone should keep that in mind.

“There are some models for the Chinese market that do not have any G-Apps installed.
But believe me, especially when it comes to data protection, these are not alternatives, but simply a nightmare in a different color…”

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At least on my side, Optimus 2 was working fine aside from battery which was not tested enough (Probably sucked tho lol), it just lacked the specific features for a smartwatch like Circle to Square and a proper driver to the cam, it looked really funky. Now you say this is a MTK device and not an Unisoc which is true.

Strangely enough, there has been a lot of work for SL8541e and SC8541e devices, the well-known Android 8.1 Go watches that have flooded the entire market lately.

It seems that this specific CPU is Treble Enabled thanks to a well-known device in China that uses this CPU. Worry you not, these watches are totally out of support and unlocking the BL is certainly not possible by normal means so I really doubt anyone will come to this specific devices to try to GSI one.

But they seem to have been working on them lately.

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To be honest - the major issue with porting A11, 12 or 14 to these MTK devices is that the modem and some drivers will not work.
It may also be a problem for SL8541e and SC8541e but I really don’t know to be fair.
Even for the Z40 solution I cannot port the modem and some other drivers.
Using the official source.

I see that most of the MTK ALPS sources have Treble enabled but still have the issues with drivers and modem :frowning:

The best bet is to take a look on XDA and 4PDA for the real nitty gritty details.
As @Noispirit has said - we don’t develop firmware anymore and we don’t discuss it here due to the issues with people accidently bricking their watches.


Okay yeah I understand. I’m planning to buy whatever watch I buy specifically to mess with it, so I’m willing to risk bricking it, but I won’t bring that stuff up here to respect the rules!