Sub-$400 CyanogenMod-powered smartphone details emerge

OnePlus's forthcoming CyanogenMod smartphone will come in 16GB and 64GB versions, and looks like it won't be a phablet.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

OnePlus, the upstart making a CyanogenMod-powered phone, has revealed a few details about the device that the company says will be cheaper and better than big brand phones and definitely won't include a heart-rate monitor.

Shenzhen-based OnePlus is planning to release a sub-$400 smartphone called the OnePlus One, set for launch in more than 10 markets in the second quarter of 2014.

The company has spent the past week mocking the underwhelming array of new smartphones announced at Mobile World Congress ahead of its Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) today, where it revealed how it hopes to outsmart its well-funded rivals despite a shoestring budget.

Not surprisingly, OnePlus won't be spending on traditional marketing and will focus on online sales instead, but the company also won't be adding any fancy sensors, like the Galaxy S5's heart rate monitor.

"We followed the minimalistic approach "less is more". Our designers put a lot of effort into it, focusing on making a device that looks good and it's easy to hold and use," OnePlus developers 'Carl and David' said today on Reddit.

The company hasn't revealed any of the OnePlus One's key specs yet, but revealed something of its form factor, hinting that it won't be a phablet.

"On one hand, users want a larger screen because it gives them more space to view their content. On the other hand, other users have also been requesting that screen sizes do not exceed 5-inches, so they can use it with one hand," they said.

"What do we make of these conflicting demands? We designed the OnePlus One to be easy to handle with one hand, while at the same time having the largest possible display size under these circumstances. How? By having a slim body, tapered edges and narrow bezels."

The device will come with CyanogenMod, which has worked with OnePlus developers from the outset, and according to CM, this means there shouldn’t be any of the snags users have faced with the ROM on Oppo's six-inch phablet, the N1, which was the first device to come with CM on the device.

CyanogenMod yesterday confirmed that it would support the One for two years, which is in line with Google's support timeframe for its Nexus devices.

The device will also be certified for Google Mobile Services (GMS), meaning that will one with all of Google's apps such as Play Store, Mail, Maps, YouTube, and so on.

Unlike many big brand smartphones, the One is being designed for hackers. "You can root, unroot, install stock Android or whatever you please with your phone, warranty won't be voided as long as there is no hardware damage -frying your CPU due to over-clocking will void the warranty," OnePlus said.

The One will be available with 16GB and 64GB storage, but not 32GB, though, according to OnePlus, it should cost the same as any other 32GB model. It won't be a dual-SIM phone.

Oppo's N1, which was meant to be a high-end device, disappointed some people with its lack of LTE support. In the US, the One however will support 4G LTE in the US on AT&T and T-Mobile but not Verizon. The One won't be launching with any carriers.

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau is expected to reveal details about the devices CPU today.

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