Lately Cyanogen Inc. has been making waves for all the right reasons, most recently for having a phone released running their Android ROM directly out of the box, complete with CTS certification – the Oppo N1.
The marriage of Oppo and Cyanogen Inc (CI) seemed a perfect fit for the well known modding group in their first forays into the the corporate world and for Oppo a well known Chinese manufacturer trying to become a household name in international markets. Now it appears this was just the first step for CI. Sources tell me about a new company that CI is working with to create a phone together, not just a phone created by the company that CI can build a ROM for, but a phone designed in conjunction with CI from the ground up.
Today it has been announced that the company that CI is working with is OnePlus. On the forum on the OnePlus page OnePlus have posted a thread entitled “It’s official: we’re partnering with CyanogenMod!”. Kind of speaks for itself doesn’t it? In the first post they also say they have settled on the name for the first phone, the OnePlus One and will be releasing it in the first half of 2014 to selected markets, eventually expanding to more global availability.
There are also quotes from OnePlus founder Pete Lau:
What’s coming is one of the most popular mobile operating systems specifically developed for the best hardware, with a unique twist. The smartphone industry is ripe for disruption, and 2014 should prove to be a huge year for the future of the market.
and Steve Kondik (aka Cyanogen):
Upon hearing Pete’s vision for OnePlus, it was clear we had found the right partner. By combining our software expertise with Pete’s background in hardware and design, we’ll develop a phone that will exceed both of our expectations.
My sources tell me that it is a direct partnership between OnePlus and CI and that “OnePlus is already in dealing with the Inc”. Sounds like a dream come true. Kind of like how everyone has a wishlist for what their nexus should look like each year, this way the CI team will get to have a big say in what their phone will look like, house inside, and how it will interact with the user. To me this seems what every single other company should do and some come closer to this than others but never really hitting the mark.
I really am looking forward to see what the OnePlus and CI team come up with. At this stage specs are unknown but I have had it confirmed to me that it will be smaller than the Oppo N1 and the words Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 have also been bandied about but yet to be confirmed. Do not expect Nexus pricing though folks, after all OnePlus is a phone manufacturing company and to stay alive need to make a profit, but it will not be priced in the iPhone 5S or Galaxy S4 league. It will be priced around the midrange mark.
OnePlus have their mission statement on their homepage which reads like a dream for a phone lover like you and me. I like where they are coming from. Pete Lau of OnePlus seems like a device enthusiast who wants to build a phone for the user, focussing on the user.
Those who follow the big names on Google+ closely may remember a post by Steve Kondik:
This was followed up by a post by Pete Lau, who at the time was a VP of Oppo:
None of this seemed all that suspicious seeing as at the time it was already known that Oppo and CI would be working together on a device so of course they were looking forward to the future. What was curious was that just five days later Pete Lau announced he was leaving Oppo. All went quiet for a few weeks until Pete announced on the 16th of December that something big was coming the following day. On the 17th he announced his new startup company, a phone manufacturer called OnePlus. An interesting statement he wrote in that announcement was the part:
Looking at the smartphone market right now, I see a lot of wannabes but few truly outstanding products fit for the demanding consumer. That’s what I want to address with OnePlus.
Looking back at it now he may have been referring to a phone that is designed by custom rom developers for the general public. For years it seems that custom rom developers have been in touch with what people want more than the manufacturers themselves.
Finally, to top it off Pete Lau met with the CI crew on the second of January this year. Why would a former VP of Oppo be meeting with CI? To make plans for their future collaboration of course!
I for one am really looking forward to seeing where this juggernaut that Cyanogen Inc appears to be goes. It seems that they are constantly moving forwards to bigger and better things. With CI releasing Factory images for the Oppo N1, one would expect them to release all source and binaries for this phone as well. This will, in effect, be a Nexus phone designed by the custom rom makers themselves. What more could a phone and Android enthusiast want?