Sometimes standard stuff sucks hard. In this article I'm describing how I use Open Source apps to enhance my android experience without feeding the data sourcing google apps massively. I deactivated most of the google stuff, switched my Launcher, took a different Keyboard and replaced a bunch of apps. I know that using android always makes me send data to google but I reduce it where I can.
This Article is an extension for Android Open Source Apps
First of all: If you're not a settings freak, I guess this is not a thing for you to do but I really like to customize my experience as hard as I can and you seriously can tweak the shit out of android with these apps. You don't have to use standard settings for everything. I'll show you how.
Launcher: Lawnchair 2
Cusomization is strong with this one: Replace your current launcher with Lawnchair 2 empowers you to tweak every single detail on your homescreen. Adjust the Fonts of the App descriptions, customize colors, get an awesome clock-widget.
Your input 'device' must not be a google keyboard. With AnySoftKeyboard I needed some customization to get it working for me. You can choose a layout you get along with, a theme you like, customize the top and lower row of the keyboard (depending on what you are used to) and set energy saver settings.
Camera: Open Camera
It's a great camera app and stores the Images in the same way, google's camera does it. Adjust the storage place (when using an SD Card) and there you go. Of course you get a bunch of other settings.
Browser: Mozilla Firefox
Pretty self-explaining. Deactivating Chrome and using Mozilla is one of the first things I did with my device. Additional feature: You can install Addons. Such as UBlock or Noscript.
Tasks: Open Tasks
A pretty personal task manager. I explained the setup here already.
Standard Apps: Simple Mobile Tools
[->Playstore] Simple Mobile Tools [collection]
For Apps like Calendar, Contacts, Galery, FIle Manager, Music Player, SMS e.g. I use the Apps from the Simple Mobile Tools collection, which are open source. Those apps have great widgets (Calendar) and can be customized in color. They are a proper replacement for google's standard apps and I'm not missing a thing.