The midrange smartphone market is getting more interesting by the day, both on its cheaper lower end or in the more expensive price bracket. The latter is the case of the newly unveiled Oppo R7 and R7 Plus, which tread that thin line between upper midrange and almost-flagship status, offering a list of impressive specifications in a very decent-looking package.
Oppo takes about 8 sections in its product pages to explain why the R7 and R7 Plus are such exquisite devices, comparing their curves... whatcha talkin' 'bout Oppo? These are the flattest flattened phones that lie flatly flatting on any flat surface.
If you've got a Find 7 or Find 7a phone from OPPO and you're itching for an official Lollipop ROM, head on over to the company's user forums. A beta version of Color OS 2.1, running on top of Android 5.0 code, has been posted for you to download. At the moment this edition of the software is not available via an over-the-air update, though that should be coming soon enough.
Towards the end of 2014, Oppo released an update for the Find 5 that bumped the Jelly Bean-running device up to KitKat. It wasn't a quality piece of work, but it was something. Now we know that for the Find 5, along with the N1 and the R819, things won't get any better. No additional ColorOS updates are on the way. None of these devices will see Android Lollipop.
This news comes after a reader pointed us toward the Oppo forums, where a moderator stated that these three devices won't receive any more ColorOS updates. We've since reached out to Oppo, and today we received this short but straightforward statement:
"OPPO will not be providing a Lollipop update for the R819, N1 and the Find 5."
Remember back in the days of "dumb" phones when everyone wanted them to be as tiny as possible? Then the original RAZR hit, and it was all about thinness, even to the point of absurdity? That second trend is still going strong, but a contender for the next one is phones (and laptops and TVs and what have you) with the least amount of screen bezel possible. Behold, a new Oppo phone that gives the oddball Sharp Aquos Crystal a run for its money, at least on the left and right sides.
Even while the more corporate side of CyanogenMod makes new deals with smartphone makers and OEMs, the original "CM Team" continues to expand the ROM's lineup of officially-supported phones and tablets. Today the original Moto E (from 2014) and the Oppo N3 both get their first nightly software builds, and yes, both of them are CyanogenMod 12 (based on Android 5.0 Lollipop AOSP code). You can download and flash them now.
The Moto E is an obvious choice for a custom ROM; its rock-bottom price and relatively "clean" Android software have made it a favorite among budget-minded enthusiasts, and it doesn't feature the notifications, voice, and gesture-based extras of its big brother the Moto X (which CyanogenMod doesn't duplicate).
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.
The specs in the R1C are good, if not fantastic: it uses a Snapdragon 615 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, the infuriatingly typical 16GB of storage plus a MicroSD card slot, a 13MP rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing cam.
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.
After complaints began rolling in, an Oppo representative elaborated that “external developers” created the new version.
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? You be the judge.
First, the Oppo R5. At 148.9 × 74.5 × 4.85mm, it is in fact the (pause for echo effect) thinnest smartphone ever.
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.
Behold, the Oppo N3. Or at least a render that one anonymous tipster claims is the Oppo N3.
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.
ColorOS is OPPO's super-customized build of Android. It's either a skin or a fork, depending on how you look at it.