At this point, the words "OnePlus One" and "touchscreen issues" seem to be almost synonymous on our site. You can't mention one without the other being brought up after all the annoyed reports from users, promises of solutions, so-called "fixes" being rolled out, only to be followed by an emerging set of new issues and vows by OnePlus like a snake that sheds its skin only to regrow another one. But that may be over.
One of the more persistent and frustrating issues with the OnePlus One has been its touchscreen, which saw a spat of problemsandfirmware fixes late last year. A software update in November seemed to have fixed the glitches, but in the last few weeks dozens of users on the official OnePlus forums have reported a resurgence of touchscreen issues. Perhaps it has something to do with the new Android updates, perhaps it's because of the rising temperatures as spring hits the northern hemisphere.
In response to a question posed on Twitter, HTC announced that the HTC One Mini 2 will not be updated to Android 5.0. The phone is barely a year old and is sold under the One brand that HTC reserves for its flagship devices. As you may recall, HTC made a promise to customers just last year that devices launched under the One brand would receive updates for a minimum of two years.
Sony has recently been among the friendlier companies for custom ROM developers, but their devices still had a major hitch. They could not be booted from recovery, which meant third-party software had to modify the build system and if things went wrong, it was a lot more difficult to fix. To address this issue, Sony will begin releasing new bootloaders to allow booting from recovery.
This was first reported at FXP, home to developers who work exclusively with Sony devices to bring custom ROMs like CyanogenMod to end users.
A little less than one year ago, I called the OnePlus One "the best flagship phone you can't buy" in my initial review. The phone had some impressive hardware at an amazing price, and in many ways it still does, but the system of invitations and qualifications built around actually buying the One made obtaining the device an exercise in frustration. It's taken them eleven months (and what seems like dozens of separate promotions and half-measures), but you can finally order a OnePlus One without an invitation of any kind starting today.
Surprisingly, we haven't asked this one more than once! Actually, I don't think we've ever asked it exactly like this, and it'll be an interesting one to watch. We did, however, ask you about six months ago whether your device was rooted. A full 63% were in the "yes" camp - let's see how this poll's results compare.
So, this week's question: are you running a custom ROM on your phone? For those of you with OnePlus Ones (or Yus, or N1s), if you are running an unmodified Cyanogen OS build or Oxygen OS - be it a nightly or a stable release - please answer "no." The reasoning here is as follows: a custom ROM's generally accepted definition is firmware that your device did not ship with or upgrade to on an officially sanctioned path.
OnePlus tried to assuage fears of a stagnating OS experience a few months ago during the CyanogenOS fallout by announcing it was working on a ROM for the OnePlus One. Eventually dubbed OxygenOS, the company has been working on getting the software out the door for several months. OnePlus promised to have it done by March 27th (today), but that's not happening. Bummer.
Pity the poor Verizon customer, whose options for user-moddable Android phones are more limited than any other US carrier. It's particularly cruel, then, that Verizon tends to get some awesome Motorola exclusives in the DROID line. 2014's entry is the DROID Turbo, which is basically the Nexus 6 crammed down into the 5.2-inch body of the second-gen Moto X, plus the usual DROID Kevlar styling and an enormous 3900mAh battery. Oh, and a locked bootloader that makes root and custom ROMs difficult.
But as often happens with high-profile, locked-down phones, someone has found a way around it. Someone associated with the Disekt computer security team has released a tool called MOFOROOT, which was updated to work with the DROID Turbo yesterday.
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft wants to have a larger footprint in the mobile market. So the company is taking one of its flagship products and having it shipped preloaded on a significantly larger number of phones and tablets. No, silly, not Windows. I'm talking about Office.
Microsoft has announced that it is partnering with a good number of OEMs to have Office shipped out of the box on a plethora of hardware over the next year. When you fire up such a device, look for the likes of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype.
The largest partner is Samsung, who already announced that it was including Office apps on the Galaxy S6.
Sony's recent Xperia phones and tablets have included themable skins for the proprietary Sony UI that runs on top of Android. Now Sony wants you (yes, you!) to make themes for its devices using a custom Java desktop program. The company has released a beta version of the application for aspiring theme makers, available from the Sony Developer site.
The program allows you to apply different colors and graphical elements to the various bits and pieces of Sony's themes. It's basically a streamlined setup process - anyone who's made themes for the CyanogenMod engine or a custom Android launcher will feel pretty comfortable.