CyanogenMod, the popular alternative Android operating system for smartphones, has always been for people who wanted a newer version of Android for their older smartphones. Now, for the first time, Cyanogen, CyanogenMod's parent company, in partnership with Oppo, a high-end consumer electronics company, are about to release the first dedicated CyanogenMod smartphone: The OPPO N1.
We still don't have many details about the OPPO N1. The company currently sells the N1 White, which can be used with CyanogenMod. Presuming that the N1 for CyanogenMod will be like the N1 White seems like a safe bet so here's what we know about it.
The N1 White comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Quad-Core 1.7GHz processor. It has a large, 5.9-inch Gorilla Glass 3 screen with a 1080x1920 display. At this size, it's really more of a phablet than a smartphone.
It comes with 2GBs of RAM and your choice of 16 or 32GBs of storage space. Its single most unusual feature is that it comes with a 13-megapixel rotating camera, which can rotate up to 206 degrees. With six physical lenses, a CMOS stacked image sensor, and an f/2.0 aperture, this is a smartphone that also wants to be a mid-range camera.
The phone's one problem is that it doesn't support LTE-based 4G. It does support HSPA+ 4G, which is available from AT&T and T-Mobile.
The big news, of course, is that OPPO N1 will also be the first smartphone to ship with CyanogenMod 10.2, Cyanogen's last Android 4.3 release. This combination has been approved by Google and it has passed Google's compatibility test suite (CTS). This, in turn, means you'll be able to load apps to it from the Google Play Store instead of having to side load them.
This wasn't easy. In a Google+ post, Cyanogen co-founder and CTO Steve Kondik, wrote that he "and a bunch of other guys have not slept for over a month now."
Besides the work they've been doing getting the N1 ready for release with Google's blessings, the Cyanogen tech team has also been working on a new Screencast app, encrypted texting, and CyanogenMod 11, their take on Android 4.4.
The Cyanogen business team has also been keeping busy. The company just added $23-million in Series B funding from a pair of venture capital firms.
As for the CyanogenMod smartphone, Oppo will start selling it on December 24th. If its pricing tracks the N1 White, the 16GB version will go for $599 while the 32GB model will cost you $649. If this sounds like the smartphone you want for the new year, don't wait. Kondik wrote, "This will be a limited-run device."