We've been waiting a long time to see smartphones with screens made from synthetic sapphire, an expensive material that justifies its cost by being nearly impervious to scratches from all but the hardest materials. So far we've seen it on a single Kyocera "tough" phone and not much else, but Chinese manufacturer OPPO is hoping to bring it to a more mainstream device. Say hello to the R1C, a phone that hangs out on the higher portion of the midrange, and is scheduled to hit China later this month.
Since it was unveiled in February 2013, Oppo’s Find 5 has been running versions of their ColorOS based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The release of KitKat in October of 2013 has had Find 5 owners waiting anxiously for a 4.4-based version of ColorOS on their devices. The presence of ColorOS 2.0, based on KitKat, running on newer Oppo devices like the N3 and R5 has only increased their anticipation. Still, when users saw Oppo announce a ColorOS 2.0 build based on Android 4.4 for the Find 5, they were quickly disappointed by a bug-filled experience.
Chinese manufacturer Oppo has been making a name for itself thanks to some unconventional designs on top solid hardware (on paper, at least). The latest round of upgrades for the company's product lines are novel, to be certain: the new Oppo R5 is the latest phone to steal the coveted "world's thinnest" title, and the N3 uses a new rotating camera that's positively unique. But do these features actually make the phones desirable, or are they mere gimmicks?
The Oppo N1 was a bit hit and miss: its gigantic frame and unconventional swiveling camera were interesting, but it turned more heads thanks to a special edition that came with the CyanogenMod ROM pre-installed. In David Ruddock's review, he praised the screen and build quality, but had to take away points for the gimmicky rear touchpad, latency, and lack of LTE. We've been interested to see what Oppo would show off next, and GSM Arena seems to think they have a sneak peek at exactly that.
Regular followers of the Android world know that manufacturers love to skin Google's mobile operating system for the sake of differentiation. As dramatic as Samsung and HTC can get, the Chinese OEMs sometimes take it even further, perhaps because Chinese users don't have official access to the Play Store and Google apps (making compatibility and certification less problematic). OPPO seems to be going even further than that: a new post on the company forum is recruiting testers for ColorOS on, of all things, the LG G2.
Once the CyanogenMod team found and implemented the hidden Heads Up notification mode, it was basically inevitable that all the other major custom ROMs would follow suit. The unicorn-powered Android Open Kang Project has done so with their first nightly based on Android 4.4.4. They've also thrown in the usual bug fixes, as well as settings for automatic Immersive mode, disabling the full-screen keyboard, lockscreen orientation, and a few other goodies.
The folks at CyanogenMod are on a roll with Chinese hardware. After adding official support for the Xiaomi Mi2, they've now published the first nightly ROMs for the OnePlus One and the very similar Oppo Find 7A. You can find the One download and forthcoming builds under the "bacon" codename, while the Find 7A is available under the Find7 label. Team WIN Recovery Project is already available for both phones.
You might remember the Oppo N1 as the first official CyanogenMod phone, which was quickly eclipsed by the OnePlus One. It was a very big phone (physically, not popularity-wise), but now the Chinese OEM is announcing a smaller version called, you guessed it, the N1 Mini. The thing is, the mini version of the N1 still has a 5-inch screen.