OnePlus, a new mobile venture from China, is partnering with custom Android ROM maker Cyanogen Inc to launch a new high-end smartphone this year.
The two companies will collaborate on a new commercial CyanogenMod product — called the OnePlus One — which is expected to ship in the first half of 2014 featuring a customised version of CyanogenMod.
CyanogenMod is one of a handful of alternative aftermarket firmware options that Android owners can flash their devices with. With around 10 million installations, it's one of the more popular Android alternatives, and also one of the more well-funded: the recently launched company behind it, Cyanogen Inc, has already landed $30m in venture capital.
The deal follows on from the recent limited edition release of the CyanogenMod N1, a variant of the standard $600 N1 phablet — noted for its swivel camera and lack of LTE support — from Chinese hardware maker Oppo. The device came preloaded with CyanogenMod.
The connection between Oppo and OnePlus is the newer company's CEO and founder Pete Lau — formerly a VP at Oppo, Lau was also responsible for bringing CyanogenMod to the N1 during his time at the company. Lau and Cyanogen Inc's co-founder and CTO Steve Kondik announced the partnership yesterday, which the pair have been teasing over recent weeks on social media.
"What's coming is one of the most popular mobile operating systems specifically developed for the best hardware, with a unique twist," Lau said in a statement. "The smartphone industry is ripe for disruption, and 2014 should prove to be a huge year for the future of the market."
Shenzen-headquartered OnePlus hasn't revealed hard details about the forthcoming flagship smartphone, but it is promising the "highest end" hardware and, similar to Oppo, sleek hardware. OnePlus though also still rounding up feedback on its forum about what specs fans would like to see in the device.
Whatever the end result, the company notes on its forum pages that "the CyanogenMod team will work in tandem with us to combine the best hardware with the best software. They are developing a custom version of CyanogenMod with special features and tweaks".