​OnePlus and Cyanogen officially call it quits

Cyanogen is seeking new Chinese partners that can scale up faster than OnePlus.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The partnership between OnePlus and Cyanogen has officially come to an end.

OnePlus had been Cyanogen's first major hardware partner, with Cyanogen providing the Android ROM on the popular OnePlus One handset. However, Cyanogen is now seeking a new handset maker to work with to take it to the next level.

"OnePlus and Cyanogen were both newly started companies when we began working together," Carl Pei, head of OnePlus Global, said in a statement to ZDNet. "We were both finding our way, and although it looks like the path will diverge in the near term, you never know what the future holds. I think it has been a mutually beneficial partnership; we wouldn't be where we are today without this joint effort."

The writing has been on the wall for the Cyanogen-OnePlus partnership for a number of months. The relationship between the two companies seemed to sour after Cyanogen signed a deal with Indian smartphone maker Micromax that prevented OnePlus from shipping its phones to India with Cyanogen OS installed.

The Android ROM maker has made no secret of its ambition to "take Android away from Google" with a more open version of the OS. Last month, on the heels of the EU's announcement that it would investigate Google's use of Android, Cyanogen signed a deal with Microsoft that gives it access to Office, Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Bing.

"Cyanogen OS is designed to be an open platform, and customers ultimately decide what apps they want as their defaults. We want to offer 'best in class' apps and services on our platform, and Microsoft services will be one of those great choices for consumers," a Cyanogen spokesperson told ZDNet last month.

OnePlus devices were among the first to ship with the commercial version of Cyanogen's Android ROM onboard, following earlier experiments with Oppo - a company that shares common roots with OnePlus.

OnePlus' Pei previously told ZDNet that OnePlus founder Pete Lau and Cyanogen founder and CTO Steve Kondik "shared the same vision for the kind of device they wanted to see on the market".

The pair seemed like a natural fit and Cyanogen guaranteed OnePlus One owners two full years of support. The deal helped OnePlus launch in 17 markets, as it had the appeal of a popular OS that didn't require flashing to install, while Cyanogen illustrated its commercial ambitions could work.

Cyanogen didn't respond to ZDNet's request for comment, but Cyanogen's Kondik told PC World earlier this week that the OnePlus One launch and support deal was "probably the last you will see from that partnership unfortunately".

Cyanogen CEO Kurt McMaster said the company is looking for new Chinese partners that ship in larger volumes than OnePlus, and claimed credit for much of OnePlus' reported one million in sales last year.

"OnePlus shipped reasonable volume, but nothing compared to what some of these other partners can ship," McMaster told the publication, "so we are working with partners that can scale much quicker."

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