Adapting Android app to Light Phone Tools, providing minimalist phone with secure messaging

https://thelightphone.com is a minimal, e-ink phone that has some connectivity. It has podcasts, directions, music, and SMS/Calls, and that’s about it. I think there’s a specific need for a minimal secure messaging app that is multi-platform and synchronized (so one can message from desktop, and keep thread on mobile). Signal is usually proposed for Light Phone, or Whatsapp, but the response is as follows:

We have many users that would also love to have an encrypted messaging app like Whatsapp or Signal and we are totally open to offering it if we can, however, it requires them to collaborate with us to pull that off (access to APIs, etc), so at the moment it is a little out of our control.

They are a small team, so w/ API and developing a custom UI for LPII, any progress is improbable.

But DeltaChat has a few things in favor,

  1. it depends upon no api or ‘server collaboration,’ unlike Signal, Whatsapp, arguably Matrix (which has registration schemes, overly complicated).
  2. it is simpler in set up: user only needs email credentials (or whatever Google is requiring now)
  3. it has a minimal app interface
  4. it can be used as a minimal email app w/o message encryption. (full email connectivity may go against the philosophy of Light Phone). Means that simple chat is possible with all people, just as SMS works.
  5. Light Phone runs de-googled Android at the back end, so adapting it to platform is changing UI and delivering updates to Light to integrate in their app dashboard (where apps are installed).
  6. good exposure for Delta.Chat amidst different crowded marketplace of people locked in to various apps and models.

I am not adept enough to develop this, but thought I would propose it. Those in a better position might reach out to them, as I suspect the company would be open if there was a user base willing to build it.

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On their site: «It will never have social media, clickbait news, email, …»

Your good idea may be not so good for them.

for kaiOS there is a similar proposal: Delta.chat for kaios, but generally there is not enough interest nor any money (money does help with motivation) in developing for those niche/smaller platforms.

Non the less for kaiOS I even started efforts: [wip] integrate jsonrpc by Simon-Laux · Pull Request #3301 · deltachat/deltachat-core-rust · GitHub is one of the steps to make it happen.

Instead it is a rust or c library/application which uses the email api’s (IMAP and SMTP) to talk to the email network.

I’m willing to help to make it happen, though I don’t have the time, money or a light phone (to test) to do it.
I think it would be better to ask the light phone folks directly, deltachat is probably easier to implement than the other messengers, because we have a core library with an high-level api that provides functions like getChatList, getChatMessages, sendMessage.
So after you have figured out how to talk with DC on this platform you only need to make an UI for it, which is not that much work, considering that you only want to support text messages anyway, of the other messages you could just say what type it is and when you come back home to your computer you can view them in the normal delta chat client.

And the “how to talk with dc” is easy if they use java for the ui, because they could just take this part from dc-android.

We have started already several alternative client projects:

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So if the light phone team is interested in adding DC to their phone, I would help them with their efforts of bringing DeltaChat to the light phone, cause why not, sounds like a cool idea.

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I would think the solution to respect that ethos and not include all email functionality, just defaulting option of “show chats only” and removing other options. works with minimalism of the UI too (the less settings the better)

I’d love to see Delta Chat on a Light Phone!

Yes, I think you had a good idea and I agree with you, but “we” have to contact those guys to see if the idea is good even for them! =)

I have forwarded this thread to Light Support for their consideration, they said they would look at it.

As long as the port to LPII includes only the encrypted messaging side, not “all emails” I think it could work. Whether it is of interest beyond hypothetical is beyond me.

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