Android without google account

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  1. newly-droided

    newly-droided New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I got my gf the new HTC Desire running Android 2.1. She likes it very much... wrt a google account being needed to access the market place her stance however is that she doesn't use gmail nor does she want to use any other personalised google services due to the unresolved privacy issues.

    So is there a way to have your cake and eat it too, meaning accessing the market place and installing third party apps without having to link the phone with a google account?

    If not, would it be a practicable way to access the market place with a clean account, install stuff and then unlink the phone again from the account? Would the apps, once installed, quit working if the link is no longer there (I'm of course not talking about something like a google mail app, but an app that does not 'really' require an account, like for example the opera web browser)?

    Or are there any third party roms to swap with the phone's OS so a google account is not a prerequisite anymore?

    Thanks so much for your help...
    Have a great day

  2. Wordslinger

    Wordslinger Well-Known Member

    It's a Google phone, so you need a Google account. I don't even think there's a way to sign out of the account if you wanted to. I don't use Gmail either. You can pick and choose what services to use. Even if you block the contact and calendar sync, you'd at least need it for the marketplace. But she can just make a dummy account. If she doesn't buy anything she doesn't have to put a credit card in. But I mean, she's not gonna get away from Google on an Android phone. If you use the GPS you're gonna have to use Google Maps and Navigator.
  3. Tim K

    Tim K Well-Known Member Contributor

    I think its funny how often someone complains about needing a google account likes its a big deal or a huge inconvenience. Its not like you can use an iphone without an itunes account....and you have to physically connect the iphone! You don't have to use a google email, you don't have to use a google calendar...but you do need a google account, plus its nice that all your contacts are stored in the cloud for you.
  4. nightfishing

    nightfishing Well-Known Member

    There are ways around all of the hurdles, but IMHO if you don't want to take advantage of the Google cloud (email, calendar, search, documents, maps etc) then you are much better off with a bb, palm or winOS phone. An Android is much, much less powerful without access to the cloud.

    If she doesn't want to change phones, then the best bet would to be to try to educate her a bit on the ways of the world (to get her over her irrational fear of the cloud.)
  5. newly-droided

    newly-droided New Member

    ... well, some things first:

    - I'm more of a convenience guy and might see things differently, *but* that said I can't really assure her that her data will not get mined, connected, misused, hacked by the chinese or given up to the authorities if the next hysteria of terrorists hits. Google is a huge player in a number of markets and actually has a track record of being intransparent and secretive about privacy issues. Leaving a digital trail as small as possible is a reasonable principle, as no one knows what might be the situation years down the line. As I said I personally often choose convenience over caution on that one, but I very much respect her for her thoughfulness - and I resent the insinuations made of some of you about her just being overly naive in the 'ways of the world', complaining or uneducated about this.

    - this is *not* a Google Phone, but a HTC Desire as previously stated. It runs
    Android, that is linux based and open source; I'm aware of the fact that Google drives the development, and I like their product a lot. However I don't see why for installing opera or other non-google software she should require an account if she'd prefer not to have one. This is still one cool piece of hard- and software, even without the cloud

    == so what are the ways around the hurdles you guys spoke of? And is it really so that you could not unlock the phone from the account at a later point once it has been registered with it? Could the account be deleted to force a lock-off, or would the phone then go all crazy about it?

    I'm really grateful for every bit of useful advice on this...

    Thx a lot
  6. Grospolina

    Grospolina Member

    People still call it a "Google phone" because it runs Android. Even the Google Nexus One is actually made by HTC.

    Everyone's trying to convince you to use a Google account, but it won't blow up on you if you don't. You simply won't be able to use Google services such as Android Market, Gmail and Google Maps & Navigation. Installed apps will still work fine. I suggest getting a file manager like ASTRO so that you can install apps externally.

    You can delete your Google account from the phone, but it's not very intuitive. I have an Xperia X10, so I don't know if the method's exactly the same, but here's how I do it:

    1. Go to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications
    2. Go to Gmail and click Clear data.
    3. Go to Google Apps and click Clear data.

    If that doesn't work, you could try clearing other Google apps like Gmail storage and Calendar.
  7. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum! :D
    I am totally following you. I myself was a Google-avoiding stalwart for the longest time (heck, read some of my earliest posts here), but out of necessity I have had to succumb and sign up.

    Sadly, the short answer is that any Android phone is just as tightly bound to a Google account as an iPhone is to an iTunes account. :( You may be able to use the phone without signing in, but it would be a very hamstrung experience. Even worse, with the state of PDA's of today, Android appears to be the "best" option currently available.
    ... but having said that, it really is quite all right. :eek:

    I don't find that funny. At all. Further, that "everybody else does it, too" in no way improves on the situation, quite the opposite -- if there was any alternative that was as open as Android, I'd not have signed up here.

    In any case, having a critical point of view is healthy, and people should certainly not be neither scolded nor ridiculed for it. :cool:
    dylo22 likes this.
  8. mrmojoz

    mrmojoz Well-Known Member

    No. Having issues with the core functionality of a product but buying it anyway when there are better options isn't being critical, it is being stupid. If I refused to burn fossil fuels then bought a gas powered lawn mower, people SHOULD scold and ridicule me when I complained about having to manually spin the blade.
    BookLover, tjreishus and drowe like this.
  9. newly-droided

    newly-droided New Member

    mrmojoz, I seriously hope that you're just acting out like this on the net, not in real life. It would be sad if you'd generally prefer to insult people because they have another point of view.

    I was buying the best product that I could find hard- and software wise, and now I'm looking for ways to use what I think it's great about it while avoiding what I consider a downside. It's about choice and informed pragmatism. If you have to get all emotional about it instead of being helpful, go bother someone else.

    Your argument is not valid either by the way... getting around the force-lock to a google account to install third party stuff like the opera browser has nothing to do with 'core functionality'. It's just one of the above mentioned downsides. Examples like you made it with the lawn moyer never really work a hundred percent, but to get your above example closer to reality, it would be like having a lawn mower that could be operated only using the brand of gas of one specific company without real necessity, so a pragmatic person would think about ways to refill it with other available brands.

    I appreciate every helpful bit of information very much. I think the HTC desire is phantastic, and I'm really looking forward to froyo! So thanks to all of you that actually referred to my question, without freakin out on me or insulting my gf...

    dylo22 likes this.
  10. mrqs

    mrqs Well-Known Member

    i gotta agree with mrmojoz, the cloud integration is the whole point of android
    you're asking to get rid of the very thing that makes the device good - without a google account, an android phone is a glorified featurephone

    anyway, if you wanna feed your girlfriend's paranoia, you can install any app via a file manager provided you get your hands on the .apk file (of course you'll need to get that file manager installed first... not sure how this chicken-egg situation can be handled, but i'm sure there's a way)

    a better mid-ground solution would be to create that dummy google account and use it to access the market (and maps?) - just have her disable syncing contacts, messages etc. and not use google mail, calendar etc. if she fears eric schmidt is gonna stalk her otherwise
  11. KlaymenDK

    KlaymenDK Well-Known Member

    You can install APK files using ADB, by connecting through USB with debug mode turned on. They would then appear in your app drawer.

    It's not what I would call straightforward, though.
  12. bluenova

    bluenova OK Computer VIP Member

    +1, So many people assume having a Google account means having Gmail. Gmail is just one service you can optionally activate with a Google account, the 'Google Market Place' is another.

    If you don't want to use the Google Market Place to get your apps, then there are a couple of other apps markets available such as AndSpot, SlideMe and AndAppStore.
  13. Tre Lawrence

    Tre Lawrence Well-Known Member

    Well said.
  14. InstantKarma

    InstantKarma Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, but I think you're being overly defensive. (Okay, I'm not *actually* sorry (right now); but that might be the Irish whiskey talking.)

    It's a Google phone whether you like it or not. I think your gf's being paranoid, personally, but regardless of who's correct: if you don't like/trust Google why would you buy a Google phone? Don't like/trust Microsoft, don't buy a WM* phone. Don't like/trust Apple (gawd knows I don't), don't buy an iPhone. Etc, and so forth.

    And besides... Jesus, mountains and molehills. Create a gmail account and never use it for anything except to sign in to the phone. Big friggin' deal.
  15. nicracine

    nicracine Well-Known Member

    Hi guys, I bought a 24' yatch, but I really would like to use oars instead of the motor since I am extremely unhappy with all that BP thing. Can someone point me to a few tips on how to use oars? Thanks.


    Really, Everyone else said it. Android phones may be great phones; I won't argue with that, but you really have to be aware that it is almost useless without a Google account. You may be able to go through Appbrain instead of the market for your apps, but you are paying a lot of money for a phone of which you will use maybe 50% of its features.

    I really would examine all other alternatives before buying an Android phone in your case. I hear that the Palm Pre is a great phone, and they're practically giving them away these days. The HTC HD2 is still a very good phone, and runs WM 6.5. You could even get the new iPhone, or an older model at reduced price. There are many alternatives.
  16. jev

    jev Well-Known Member

    I really don't care for any of the comments telling TS's gf to open a google account. If you don't want to, you don't need to, simple as that.

    You can simply copy the .apk files from any apps you want on the SD card (use the USB cord and allow the phone to provide access to the card as a drive) and than install them using the file manager of your choice. The only problems you will meet are twofold: (1) you'll need to find the .apk files without getting them from the market and (2) you'll need to be able to install them from SD card. The latter is possible through file managers like ES file explorer or Astro, but that's a bit of a chicken/egg problem - the phone does not provide the means to actually install from SD card out of the box.

    The former issue can be "solved" using websites like, and the websites of individual developers. Also, there are some apps anonymously available for download from the google codebase. You won't be able to find all apps this way though.

    It's not the easiest way to use the phone but it is possible!
  17. mrqs

    mrqs Well-Known Member

    you can use a sharp spoon to get to the tuna, but there's no logical reason why you wouldn't want to use a can opener

    i get that someone would rather not use gmail or sync their contacts or whatever, but even if you're paranoid enough to think google is interested in what kind of cooking recipes you exchange with your mom, creating a google account to access the market on an android phone is in no way exposing yourself to anything by any stretch of imagination
  18. tjreishus

    tjreishus Well-Known Member

    My opinion is that what makes the android phones GREAT, is that it is tied to google the way that it is. Personally, to try to make this phone work without being connected to google would be just like the lawn mower comment. I think it would be more accurate to compare it to buying a Mercedes because it's the best, but not wanting to burn fuel. Sure, you can push it around, but your not going to be able to enjoy what it can really do.

    I guess what I am saying, is that she really should get a different phone. She might have the best phone, but she won't be able to see what it can REALLY do.
  19. roid and roid

    roid and roid New Member

    no, you're not exposing anything, of course not. You only let google know which applications you want. But knowing only the installed apps is not exposing anything, of course. After all, google does not have enough data to find a group of people with similar apps and thus can not infer probable other interests. I understand very well that someone would prefer not to have a google account. Any database as large as google's is going to be misused at some time. Either it gets hacked, or someone working at google just develops an interest in some people ... Right now it is quite difficult for someone who wants at least minimal privacy protection to find a decent smartphone. However this might change later this year with the first MeeGo phones. I really hope that MeeGo is going to fill this void.
  20. roid and roid

    roid and roid New Member

    hmm, somehow the forum software ate my newline characters. Sorry that it's more difficult to read, but I don't know a workaround.
  21. Szadzik

    Szadzik Well-Known Member

    Dream on....

    You think Google does not know about your stuff even though you do not have a Google account? Wrong.
    lunatic59 likes this.
  22. mrqs

    mrqs Well-Known Member

    maybe the forum is getting back at you for posting in a 3 month old thead ;)
  23. realnig

    realnig New Member

    - I don't want a goggle account whatsoever;
    - the core functionality of an Android device IS NOT the cloud;
    - the core functionality of an Android device IS all the 100K (or so) Android apps and what they have to offer;
    - there are alternatives to Gmail, Gmaps, Gsearch, Gstreet, Gearth, Gwhatever. Some of them are worse, some of them are better (for people that never tried turn by turn GPS navigation, try one, please);
    - if I want to use Google products on my device, then I don't mind having a Google account;
    - why should I have a Google account just for being able to browse the internet through Opera, let's say ? Or download an app from the MarketPlace?

    Although I find Android a well designed and enjoyable experience, I think it is massively spoiled by Google and its goals to store/index/cross-reference/get back to you with crappy ads.
    One day you won't be able to start your car unless you wear red socks and blue suits. What's the big deal, you'll ask? Dunno. Let's think about it for a while.

    roid&roid - your words should be marked for history - "I understand very well that someone would prefer not to have a google account. Any database as large as google's is going to be misused at some time."
    dylo22 likes this.
  24. takeshi

    takeshi Well-Known Member

    Because a Google account is required for the Market. Next question?

    Don't have to use it if you don't want to but you still have to have a Google account.

    You're not precluded from using them. How is Google Maps Nav not turn-by-turn? Can you clarify what you mean?

    Ah yes, the old slippery slope argument... :rolleyes: You might want to omit that bit if you want to be taken seriously.
  25. lennyjew

    lennyjew Well-Known Member

    This would probably have something to do with why you need a Gmail account. Owning the company that designed the OS would give one that right. Seriously it took me all of five seconds to discover Google had deep ties to Android.

    As for the G-Mail paranoia, there's a site called spokeo where you type a name it and it'll give out more info than you would think. I found myself in there and it had my address, info about my house, e-mail and social network accounts, pictures tied to those account, etc.

    My point is, with or without a G-mail account, there's already a plethora of data about you on the internet already. Loans you've signed, credit cards you've taken out, essentially any time you hand over a piece of info or type something into a search engine it's logged and assigned your IP address if they don't already have your name. I'm not trying to add to the paranoia, but you know it happens and unless you become a complete shut in and shun technology your info is going out there. Deal with it (I mean that in the nicest way possible).

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