There was a rush to "be the platform" and get people into ecosystems. The large companies saw the value of the data. I think what Shuttleworth was doing was noble because at least the FOSS community would have access to the data. SailfishOS is sputtering and I noticed that KDE removed the OnePlus One from their supported list (I was talking to one of the main guys in England supporting it, I think he may have lost interest?).
I had a oneplus that I flashed with the Chinese OS from the OPPO i-don't-remember-the-model. I multiromed it and then flashed plan cyanogen, oneplus stock, AOKP and sailfishOS. I almost got Sailfish to build from scratch, but never got it to work. I agree that Android has been gutted of all things useful. Google has put EVERYTHING that makes it more than a phone into a proprietary Google application bundle called GAPPS. I tried all the open source mentioned above and it was always buggy and missing alot. However, Cyanogen will be back with his lineageOS.
I gave the phone away to my best friend and then a week later KDE announced PlasmaMobile.
I desperately wanted to create a BSD phone system so I delved into ARM. Unfortunately, there isn't great support for the Snapdragon platform (none at all when I started looking). I could dig up something about a couple guys working on it, but I don't think they are all that advanced. (I have a bunch of other boards, BBB, Solid-run IMX6).
The biggest hurdle is most drivers are written for linux (glibc) and android (bionic). Many are proprietary and getting support for that would be daunting. The Sailfish guys (don't remember which one) got around it by supporting Android drivers. They created a shim/wrapper system around bionic drivers called libhybris that converted things to glibc system calls so they could use proprietary bionic binary blobs in the kernel. Unforunately it's Linux kernel only.
Anyway, I believe there is much tighter support for Android in the Linux kernel now.
Warning: Rant about phones and privacy
Don't get me really ranting about privacy. What has happened is a crime. With the retirement of BB10, there are NO operating systems or phone systems that are currently created or controlled out side of the US or US corporate interests. If you think that Apple and the US Government are not working together you are foolish. Apple controls the silicon and the software. Just because they are encrypting your data in the nand flash doesn't mean they don't have a switch to send an unencrypted copy to a hidden nor chip. Until someone audits and verifies this, I will not believe a word that Tim Cook the corporate shrill says. "Android by Google" IS A TRACKING DEVICE and the US government has FULL access to your information. Okay, calm down Dinsdale...
So if anybody else wants their privacy back, the way forward for a PhoneBSD is:
1) Get a viable FreeBSD board support package for Snapdragon or MediaTek processors/chipsets
2) Bring wayland support up to date - especially the KDE wayland implementation. I know FreeBSD crews are working on a different implementation and have dev builds available but I'm too lazy to go look right now (drags up painful memories. lolz)
3) Get qt5 support completed (not sure where that's at)
4) port KDE plasmaMobile (should just be a matter of getting qt5 running?) OR
5) Better yet, get a copy of Lumina working on it!
...Others I haven't yet discovered...
Anyway, there is nothing that guarantees the Qualcom or MediaTek chips don't have something embedded in them, but they are well known design architectures heavily based on ARM reference designs and they have to use the ARM instruction sets. While Apple does use ARM, their design is much different then most (I don't have a lot of details to share on that).
Okay, I'm tired now. D'oh! I came to post some log files!