One of the nicest things about CyanogenMod (from a cosmetic perspective, anyway) is support for hundreds and hundreds of community-baked themes on the Play Store and elsewhere. As opposed to a launcher theme or icon set, these themes are system-wide, and they can completely change the look of your phone or tablet in a few seconds. Custom ROMs often bake in a compatible theme system (see AOKP), and now the popular Paranoid Android family has done so as well.
Some of you may have thought CyanogenMod had made it back when it spawned a company, but a project isn't really legit until it gets its first shirt. That makes today the day that CyanogenMod gets its priorities straight, as the project has just made its first official t-shirt available for purchase directly from the CyanogenMod shop. The offering stars our favorite blue Android mascot for a custom ROM, Cid, in a superhero form.
Last year, Samsung got into some hot water for including an automatic "high power mode" for certain apps, dialing up the processor and GPU scaling. There's nothing wrong with that in theory, but these changes were enabled specifically for benchmark apps, giving the benchmarks results that, while not technically incorrect, were artificially inflated and unlikely to be indicative of everyday performance.
Yesterday, popular custom ROM family CyanogenMod added similar state-dependent modes to its latest batches of code, and as soon as the power profiling function was added, specific triggers for the popular Quadrant and Antutu benchmarks were added as well.
Can you make a smartphone without compromise? Is it possible to cram top-of-the-line hardware into a slim phone body, then fit it with well-regarded software, then sell it for about half the price of competing devices, and call the resulting product a "flagship killer?" Can you, as the ceaseless OnePlus promotion machine so succinctly puts it, "never settle?"
In a word, no. The OnePlus One, the maiden Android phone from a boutique manufacturer, is not completely without its shortcomings (or indeed, its compromises).
Eight inches is a fine size for a tablet, but the options are still pretty slim. People in want of a stock Android experience in the form factor pretty much have to go with the LGGPGPE or hack together their own solution. Thankfully the latter is, depending on the device, as simple as gaining root and flashing a ROM. CyanogenMod has just rolled out its first nightlies for Samsung's Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4.
Hardcore Android fans are hard to please. We should know. So for a new company to attempt to please the most vociferous of Android users with a high-end phone that also manages to compete on price is ambitious to say the least. But that's what OnePlus, with their One phone, is doing. And if a day or so with the phone is indicative of the overall experience, they might have actually achieved success.
When we posted the latest "M" build for CyanogenMod 11, I wondered when the release candidate of the popular custom ROM was coming. It's going to be a while, since apparently they're now a thing of the past. According to the latest CM blog post, that doesn't indicate any real change - they're just moving things around a bit. M builds are now the top tier of CyanogenMod, with nightly builds occupying a lower and more risky level of ROM, followed by pre-alpha "experiments."
No one could accuse the team at Cyanogen of rushing anything to market. Six months after KitKat debuted, the CyanogenMod team is still perfecting its modified release for dozens of devices. The sixth snapshot or "M" build is rolling out on the buildbox right now. Custom ROM fanatics, you know what to do.
"M" builds are generally more stable than nightly builds, but still not good enough to make it to Release Candidate status.
OnePlus has been amazingly and infuriatingly evasive when it comes to their much-hyped One phone, bordering on "bloody cheeky" with their series of faux-viral specification and schedule reveals. Perhaps one of their hardware or marketing partners got as fed up with waiting as we are, because a full set of convincing photos and renders has been leaked via a Chinese forum.
The set of photos shows what looks like a pretty standard high-end phone, with the interesting addition of a variety of removable"StyleSwap" back covers, including various covers made of (or at least covered in) wood, carbon fiber, and denim.