In my last couple of posts, I've talked a bit about the drawbacks of iOS and Android, but acknowledged I've found the alternatives lacking. Ultimately, I went back to Android -- but not stock Android.
Android -- at least, the base OS -- is free/open-source software. As such, there are many different variations of Android available.
Replicant is the only Android variation endorsed by the GNU Project; it seeks to provide an Android experience with only free/open software. Unfortunately, it has drawbacks: it has a very limited number of supported devices, the most recent of which is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, which was released in 2013. Replicant itself isn't quite that outdated; the latest version is 6.0, based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow (2015). And even though Replicant itself is free, it still requires proprietary firmware in most cases.
I've ultimately settled on LineageOS, an Android distribution descended from the previous CyanogenMod project.
You can install Google Services and Apps (Gapps) on top of LineageOS, but on my latest installation, I opted not to do that. I get most of my Android software from F-Droid, a free software repository.
I do run a few proprietary apps; the Amazon App Store is one source, and there's a program called Yalp Store (you can get it from F-Droid) that lets you download apps from the Google Play Store without installing Gapps -- though keep in mind that does violate Google's terms of service.
Someone also recently recommended microG to me; it's a free re-implementation of Google Services. I haven't tried it out yet, but it looks promising.
All in all, I was surprised by just how easy it ended up being running an Android-based OS without Google's proprietary apps and services. That's easy for values of "easy" that include being comfortable flashing your phone, of course, but so far it's worked out pretty well for me.
I'd sure like to see one of those alternatives get a better foothold, though. More competition is good for everybody, especially if that competition comes from free software.