Android and iOS are the undisputed kings of the mobile phone market, commanding large leads in market share over their next closest competitors. Windows Phone has been growing, but is still lagging both in app selection and in number of active users, making the third place position still ripe for disruption. A surprising player is vying to take this third place spot: the Android-based aftermarket firmware, Cyanogenmod. While Cyanogenmod has always required users to go through a fairly complicated unlocking and rooting process to install it on their stock Android devices, it still rivals Windows Phone in active devices. Now, a new phone is releasing with Cyanogenmod installed from the get-go, making the software even more accessible to users. While the OnePlus One is not the first phone to ship with Cyanogenmod, it could be the first to garner mainstream appeal and sell to a wide range of consumers.
The OnePlus One is a phone born out of a collaboration between a hardware startup, OnePlus, and the recent incorporation of Cyanogen Inc. With specs besting anything currently available from the major manufacturers and a price that undercuts even Google’s inexpensive Nexus 5, this phone is a clear shot across the bow of manufacturers and carriers alike. Running an operating system that combines the best of Android with some additional customization and security features means that users will have a bit of the additional security of a device like the Blackphone but retain support for Google’s Play Store and other Google services. Additionally, this phone will have the benefit of rapid updates from Cyanogenmod, who have historically gotten updates out to devices from AOSP faster than manufacturers or even Google.
The One is an extremely exciting device, as it showcases what a hardware startup is capable of producing, as well as being an excellent sophomore effort on the part of Cyanogen Inc.