My biggest gripes and why I don't have one of these open hardware, open source devices for my phone and laptop, is the price to performance not being competitive with those selling bigger bulk (and your data with it), but it's that I don't have access to the highest-end specs. I would pay extra for the freedom, but making me compromise with a shitty non-wide-gamut IPS panel just isn't going to get me. RAM and hard drive space is cheap, but the spec is usually tiny. The battery could be larger but isn't.
The list goes on. Especially with device you're meant to look at for hours on end, you need to have a beautiful OLED with at least 100% DCI-P3 coverage. Ideally with 13-15" you have 2K hiDPI. An increase frame rate is not as important unless you're gaming as crisp text and color accurate photos/video.
I think if you want to go low-end to mid-range on phones, just slap an e-ink display instead. I would totally be down to buy something like that. As much as I love accurate colors, e-ink is great for reading. With a decent DAC, audio like podcasts and text are optimized and I could curmudgeonly ignore much of the push to video and TikTokification.
@tychosoft In harsh light, yes. On a 21-hour bus ride through Laos, also yes.
I know you're being sarcastic, but if video consumption and games is a suboptimal experience, then I'm less likely to do those activities on a whim. This is literally the whole "pitch" for the Light Phone (https://www.thelightphone.com/).
There are entire categories of distraction-free launchers for Android to get all the social media time-wasters out of your face. Though niche, these are real people's desires.
What I want is a device that can act as a hotspot, secure message and call on the go, give me maps, play podcasts, read the news, and participate in tech circles on Mastodon, Lobsters, Hacker News, etc. I don't need a lot of the other things. I often carry my mirrorless camera if I need a photo and it'll be better than my phone.