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.
Sense getting you down? Well, the folks behind CyanogenMod have just the thing to cure what ails you. There is now an official CM 11 nightly build for the HTC One M8. Like a number of other devices, this one is getting a unified build that should work for most devices.
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.
Amazon's Kindle Fire HD tablets are very affordable, and the hardware is pretty compelling. It's just a crying shame that the Fire OS powering the device doesn't quite have the feature set that we enthusiast have come to expect. But that's nothing a little ROM action can't address, and CyanogenMod has just the solution - nightlies for the 2012 Kindle Fire HD 7" and 8.9."
The builds currently available show up as experimental because they were produced on demand, but regular nightlies are due out starting today.
The folks at CyanogenMod take a long, long time to develop a custom ROM before they'll slap a "stable" label on it. They don't make any apologies for this, but if you're particularly impatient for a more reliable version of CM 11 (Android 4.4), you can check out the latest snapshot builds. The "M5" builds are rolling out for some of the better-supported devices at the moment, and more should be available throughout the day.