After all the teasing and big talk, the OnePlus One has been officially announced. Some of what wasn't revealed by the company in the lead up to the unveiling was leaked a few days ago, but now we've got all the details. This device is clearly going after the Nexus category of devices with a low price and solid feature set. Oh, and it has CyanogenMod.
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.
Koushik Dutta, better known as "Koush" to the Android power user community, was one of the original Cyanogen, Inc. employees when the company incorporated last year. But he's been giving Android users some great stuff for much longer than that: most people's first exposure to his work comes from ClockworkMod, still one of the most widely-used custom recoveries available, not to mention various tools like ROM Manager, ClockworkMod Tether, and DeskSMS.
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.
Much of Android is open to tinkerers, but Google has gradually closed off more and more of the default functionality. The most awesome aspects of the KitKat dialer - its ability to search for businesses and contacts from within the app - were not included in the open source version. So what's a ROM developer to do? Why, create their own alternative. The OmniROM folks have previously shown off their work, and now the CyanogenMod team has packed similar functionality, albeit seemingly more powerful, into the latest nightlies.
The marketing campaign for OnePlus's CyanogenMod-powered One phone has been maddeningly piecemeal, so we've been hesitant to post their tiny updates. But the latest one is notable: according to this forum post, the OnePlus One will feature always-on voice commands, in the same manner as the Moto X and 2013 Motorola DROIDs. The administrator says that it's enabled by a combination of Qualcomm technology and custom software from the CyanogenMod team.
We're getting closer and closer to a stable KitKat release of the popular aftermarket Android ROM, CyanogenMod. The "M" snapshot releases are more stable than a nightly, but not quite as final as a release candidate. The fourth M build for CyanogenMod 11 (Android 4.4) includes a wide range of updates that hadn't yet made it to the KitKat builds, according to the official CyanogenMod blog.
Most of these revolve around the custom applications that the CyanogenMod team adds to Android, though a few are more essential.