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OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-kit-on-the-block dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Spec-wise, OnePlus One will go toe-to-toe with the latest flagship phones like the Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), and Sony Xperia Z2. In some areas, it even surpasses them, and at a price point of $300. The One has the same 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC SoC as the Samsung Galaxy S5, build quality similar to the HTC One (M8), and the large 3000+ mAh battery and Sony camera of the Xperia Z2. It also runs CyanogenMod 11S, which is based on Android 4.4."
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OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    42 I guess?

  • Too good to be true? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by schnell (163007) <me@[ ]nell.net ['sch' in gap]> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:00PM (#46826331) Homepage
    $300 for the 16 GB model and $350 for a 64 GB model? Knowing what Samsung charges for comparable devices, and knowing how much better economies of scale it has, this sounds exciting but just a little too good to be true.
    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:07PM (#46826405)

      If we can buy a single 32GB Micro SDHC card for under 20$USD and 64GB for 40$USD at Amazon.com, I'd say that almost all companies are totally ripping us off when it comes to built-in device storage.

      I'm guessing it costs them around 6$USD for 32GB and 12$USD for 64GB flash storage ICs since they buy millions of them.

      • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich.aol@com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:10PM (#46826455) Journal

        MicroSD uses a cheap n-wire serial interface. Embedded FLASH, especially that which is used for XIF, is parallel and much much faster, and more expensive owing to the larger packages with higher numbers of pins for parallel interfaces.

        • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:22PM (#46826567)

          Maybe that's a problem waiting to be fixed? Not everything needs extremely fast storage and I'm guessing the biggest storage capacities demanded by some people are caused by audio, video and photos. Since digital cameras can now record full HD video and use Micro SDXC cards, I'd say that one way to lower the cost and increase the capacity at the same time would be to include both "slow" and "fast" storage.

          Something like Project ARA could give the choice to users. Add a cheaper unit that contains 256GB of slow storage and 16GB of fast storage or add a more expensive unit with 64GB of fast storage only. The OS would be able to decide for itself if a storage is fast enough for a given task (JPEGs and AACs go to the slow storage, the apps go in the fast storage, etc).

        • by msauve (701917) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:06PM (#46827069)
          "MicroSD uses a cheap n-wire serial interface."

          Uh, no. While it's true that SD cards offer backwards compatibility with MMC, modern cards transfer using a 4 bit wide parallel bus, and it's not nearly as simple as the SPI mode. With regard to your argument, have you ever looked at the flash chips in an SD card? Last I checked, they use the same memory dies as the "embedded" packages, and add the cost of an SD controller and more complex packaging. On the host side, there's the cost of an SD controller (although that's probably "free" with the SoC) and socket.

          More specific to the original point, if a phone already has 16G of flash, the cost of upping it to 64G is minor - the parallel interface you mention is already there, and the difference in packaging costs between 16G and 64G chips is likely zero.
          • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:55PM (#46827585) Journal

            and the difference in packaging costs between 16G and 64G chips is likely zero.

            I never would have pegged the price difference between 16GB and 64GB as $50.
            That means every other phone out there is practicing enormous and arbitrary price discrimination by jacking up the cost of storage.

            • by Carewolf (581105) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @05:01PM (#46827625) Homepage

              I never would have pegged the price difference between 16GB and 64GB as $50.
              That means every other phone out there is practicing enormous and arbitrary price discrimination by jacking up the cost of storage.

              Well Duh! Why do you think Apple for instance doesn't allow SD cards in their phones?

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by TubeSteak (669689)

                Well Duh! Why do you think Apple for instance doesn't allow SD cards in their phones?

                I assumed it was because they didn't want to compromise on their museum quality designs.

                • by mjwx (966435)

                  Well Duh! Why do you think Apple for instance doesn't allow SD cards in their phones?

                  I assumed it was because they didn't want to compromise on their museum quality designs.

                  Nope, it's because it would give the user too much choice and as we all know choice is baaaad.

                  If an Iphone user had to pick between 4 memory sizes, their heads would explode.

        • by Carewolf (581105)

          MicroSD exists in many different speeds. They use the same microcontroller as the embedded flash, and can be just as fast if using similar chips (can in fact be faster if your phone has cheap internal flash).

        • by jrumney (197329)
          While mobile phones might use some such flash for the bootloader and OS, the bulk of that 64GB storage is eMMC, which is basically an SD card without the plastic casing.
      • I certainly wouldn't doubt the use of non-upgradable internal storage as an effective price discrimination and margin padding tactic; but there is the issue of flash and controller quality.

        If you are running something nearly the weight of a full OS (and a RAM constrained one that spends a lot of time killing processes and trying to reload them before anybody notices), you want good performance from your flash and controller (consider the user happiness that the first gen Nexus 7 created before it gained
        • As I said in another of my comments, I think "slow storage / fast storage" would be simple enough, with the OS able to know that it must store apps in fast storage and media in the slow storage.

          Call it "Apps storage capacity" and "Media storage capacity" if it helps, the typical user doesn't need to know or even care why there's two kinds of capacities if the end result is more media storage for a lower price tag.

          • Oh, I'd certainly be in favor of such a feature, and I'm a little surprised that none of the 'throw things at the wall until some of them stick' Android vendors seem to have tried it; but I'm just not wildly optimistic. On the low end, they just use junk, on the high end they love that SKU tiering ability, and none of the mobile OS vendors seem particularly enthusiastic about the fact that local storage even exists, since it inconveniences their assorted 'cloud' nonsense and sometimes adds little slots to t
          • The problem is that video requires two orders of magnitude more storage than audio, so including a separate tiny slow storage device for audio would make it more expensive.
          • by zyzko (6739)

            This has been used already by Nokia in Symbian devices and also on N900 (Maemo).

            Granted, memory might have been even more expensive then (even relatively to requirements on what is considered much) and this could have been seen as a "smart choice" and not so surprisingly what happened was that Nokia would squeeze the fast "application" memory to a bare minimum, and it left users complaining that their "C-drive" is full on their mighty 16 GB device with 13 GB free. No premium manufacturer concerned with user

    • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich.aol@com> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:08PM (#46826423) Journal

      It's being sold direct by the Chinese manufacturer:

      OnePlus
      Unit B 9/F. Lockhart Centre
      301-307 Lockhart Road Wanchai
      Hong Kong Central
      Hong Kong

      Cutting out markups by US retailers can only lower the final consumer price. Units will ship directly from China most likely, and most US consumers will be surprised when they receive bills from the shipper for US Customs clearance. It's unlikely they will be able to get away with checking the "Gift" box on the customs forms for 10 million phones.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's being sold direct by the Chinese manufacturer:

        OnePlus
        Unit B 9/F. Lockhart Centre
        301-307 Lockhart Road Wanchai
        Hong Kong Central
        Hong Kong

        Cutting out markups by US retailers can only lower the final consumer price. Units will ship directly from China most likely, and most US consumers will be surprised when they receive bills from the shipper for US Customs clearance. It's unlikely they will be able to get away with checking the "Gift" box on the customs forms for 10 million phones.

        I've bought plenty of merchandise from Chinese manufacturers ($1000+ per shipment) and never had to pay any unexpected customs charges, everything was paid in the shipping/handling fees.

      • by emag (4640)

        Doubtful, according to the FAQ [oneplus.net]. At least, I'm hoping the warehouses mentioned are, based on the initial countries of availability [oneplus.net], in North America, Europe, and Asia.

      • by drachensun (2766139) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:47PM (#46827515)
        In the USA customs on phones and similar mobile computing devices is 0%. Unless they come from Japan and have a 16 bit or larger CPU, then its something outrageous like 200% which I assume is some ancient 1980s calculator tariff thats still hanging around. If you do not require a formal entry, typically there are no customs duties or charges at all. Formal entry is not required for packages sent by mail carrier with a value $1500, unless they are in a special category like munitions, produce, etc, etc. Even with a formal entry this category doesn't have any duty but your customs agent will typically charge a % for handling the paperwork. DHL used to charge me 0.25% I think, its been more than I year though so I can't remember exactly. This isn't true for most western countries, the EU has VAT and local sales tax, Canada has a national sales tax, many other countries have crippling duties. In short, drop shipping to the USA is not a problem and won't add duties. I used to do a formal entries of this kind of merchandise about once a month when I had this going www.pengpod.com .
    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      It is.

      That's why they have their ridiculous invite system to deal with the lack of availability.

    • by bberens (965711)
      Bear in mind that the LG Nexus 5 is only $350. I'd assume the Nexus 6 is coming soon (about the time this phone might get wide-spread availability) and will come in at about the same price point.
      • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@corne[ ]edu ['ll.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:51PM (#46826895) Homepage

        The Nexus 5 is subsidized by Google so that it's sold nearly at cost or possibly even below it.

        Google's business model here is that it gets people into the Play Store ecosystem, which is where Google really makes their money on Android.

        OnePlus has no such business model, which is why they're limiting access to the device via their invite system.

        One additional worry bead about this price point is that it means they're likely not funneling much money to Cyngn (Cyanogen, Inc) to support this device. For various reasons (mainly, the Cyngn guys being notoriously difficult to work with), Cyngn-backed devices get little to no community input on CyanogenMod builds.

        As an example of what happens when you don't pay Cyngn much for a device, see the Oppo N1. Once Cyngn got what they wanted (experience with taking a device through the GMS certification process), they deallocated most engineering resources for the N1, which has since then received minimal level of support effort from Cyngn. The end result is stuff like location services being broken for 2 months straight in CM11 nightlies. Nearly everyone who bought the CM edition of the N1 switched to Omni, which is maintained on that particular device by three guys (disclaimer: I'm one of them) in their spare time. That's how badly Cyngn deprioritized the device - three guys in their spare time are investing more into suppporting the device than cyngn is. (Admittedly, we're making better use of our time too - see below.)

        I expect users of the OnePlus One will see the same with the next Android version beyond 4.4 on the OnePlus - the team at Cyngn take the "no bug reports against nightlies" rule VERY seriously, and the results of that show in the quality of nightly builds that are maintained by them. (Many of the community-supported devices are supported by maintainers who have a thread on XDA, where they'll hear if a device has a major issue. The end result is that most people have a high expectation of quality even from nightlies due to the "community maintainer pays attention to what's going on" workaround, but you won't see that from Cyngn-backed devices.)

        • Link to your project page please? Obviously, searching for Omni alone will not return what I want. Omni Cyanogen seems to be returning some results. I will eventually find your project but a link would be nicer. :)

          (I use CyanogenMod but I dislike portions of it.)

        • Never mind. Omni Rom was sufficient. Thank you! I always appreciate work (even the work done by the CM team). I am glad you are writing roms.

    • $300 for the 16 GB model and $350 for a 64 GB model? Knowing what Samsung charges for comparable devices

      Yes, but the recent build estimate based on tear-down for the S5 was $255 or so.
          That gives these guys in China almost a hundred bucks, which is a good margin for any business. Samsung is just making money hand-over-fist, but there's plenty of long-tail to profit in.

    • by richtopia (924742)
      Keep in mind that teardowns of the S5 put the manufacturing cost ~256USD. While this does not take into account a lot of costs like design, if the OnePlus One is selling at zero profit to gain market share they could with similar specs to the S5.

      http://www.gadgetcluster.com/2014/04/it-takes-only-256-for-samsung-to-produce-a-galaxy-s5-handset/
  • Does anyone know what's the name of the company or who's behind it ? I have this feeling there must be some giant behind this new face.
    • They have a "careers" page on their website and all the jobs are in Shenzhen. They have two caucasian looking guys on their employee website, but they could be from Hong Kong for all I know.
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        They have two caucasian looking guys on their employee website, but they could be from STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY for all I know.

        There we go...

  • At least not yet. Still unknown as to when it is going on sale, I believe. Also you will not be able to buy one from Verizon in the US. Not sure about other carriers but I sorta doubt it. Cool to see a phone ship with Cyanogenmod, though.

  • The answer is two.
  • Is Project Ara [projectara.com] too new, that's why they're not using it?

    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Modularity usually comes at a price. I'm hopeful that we can begin to move towards such a device, but it will almost certainly be more expensive up front than an equivalent unified device. If nothing else you have the added cost of the the dozens of little interconnects to deal with. The long-term cost savings come from incremental upgrades, but I have my doubts as to how well it can get established in a market where most people are accustomed to continuously buying a new, heavily subsidized phone on a re

  • by barlevg (2111272) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:25PM (#46826603)
    Hell, considering no flagship phone has sported a physical keyboard in years, I'm likely sold anyway. I was seriously debating getting a Nexus 5, but I actually prefer Cyanogenmod over stock Android.
  • This is starting to change with just a couple exceptions but for the most part, here's the situation in my city. I can choose from the CDMA carrier Verizon, CDMA carrier US Cellular, CDMA carrier Airfire, CDMA carrier Cellcom, CDMA carrier Sprint, or several other CDMA carriers. Oh and then there's the GSM carrier, AT&T but who's stupid enough to go with that pile of shit that they call a company. CDMA phones have to be built for a carrier and that's the end of it. So for buying just "a phone" your
    • I'm thinking of switching off Verizon for similar reasons after this phone announcement; CDMA phones are usually fucked with by Verizon because they're custom. I've never had reason enough to leave until now. It looks like it'll support T-Mobile networks and their LTE is passable where I live. Verizon's LTE is spotty at best anyway most places I go so why the hell not? Great phone, no bloatware, I'm intrigued.
    • by idontgno (624372)

      Came here to say this.

      "Nice phone. Good luck in the US of A getting any carrier to activate it and let you use it. But hey, at least it's a small wifi-only tablet with theoretically access to cell data."

      I suppose it'll work out OK in the more communications-civilized* regions of the world.

      *In other words, places where regulatory capture hasn't occurred and customers have more rights than livestock.

  • by emag (4640)

    Wireless charging (preferably via Qi, as I have several Qi chargers between home & work) seem to be the only thing I'm not seeing listed in the specs.

    Still, it's been a while since I got excited about a phone, and I told myself that if something cool came out, November would be a good time to upgrade my N4.

    • I don't see it listed in the specs but I also don't see it listed as not being there. I agree, I have an N5 and use wireless charging at my desk, and especially in my car ($40 Qi-charging vent-mounted dock is a godsend) -- so while the rest of this phone seems pretty awesome, I'd lament the loss of Qi.
      • by emag (4640)

        Absolutely. I'm back and forth from my desk all day, and like to keep my phone & tablet batteries topped up, just in case I need them. I started to worry about the usable lifetime of the micro-USB jack, so switched over to Qi at work exclusively.

  • Remember the $200 Android phone? Seems like they took pre-orders, but as far as I can tell never delivered. What are the odds this is the same kind of vaporware?

  • No SD card? That won't kill my flagship phone.
  • After having owned a Galaxy S3 for a year, I'm ready for the return of smaller phones. I've been waiting for prices to come down on used GS4 Minis. However, if they released a OnePlus with a 4" screen, I'd order it immediately.

    A phone configured specifically for CyanogenMod is a killer feature in my book. My next phone will have to be much smaller, lighter, and thinner than 5.5" unfortunately. Any suggestions?

    • After having owned a Galaxy S3 for a year, I'm ready for the return of smaller phones. I've been waiting for prices to come down on used GS4 Minis. However, if they released a OnePlus with a 4" screen, I'd order it immediately.

      A phone configured specifically for CyanogenMod is a killer feature in my book. My next phone will have to be much smaller, lighter, and thinner than 5.5" unfortunately. Any suggestions?

      If you want a flagship phone then Sony Xperia Z1 Compact will probably suit you http://www.sonymobile.com/glob... [sonymobile.com] a 4ish inc phone with Snapdragon 800

  • by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:45PM (#46827489)

    No SD slot == No Thanks.

    I'm frankly surprised not many other people here seem to be all over the lack of an SD slot.

    I like having my entire music collection, my entire photo library and 1 or 2 movies with me just in case. I also like being able to use my phone as a USB stick if I need to. ...and in case anyone suggests it, storing it all in the cloud just doesn't cut it.

    • Wow, I actually didn't notice that until I saw your post. Total deal breaker, which is tragic, I was all about this phone up until the moment of realization. I constantly walk around with at least 2 64GB cards in my wallet, Get a phone with large internal storage, keep all my apps on the internal, have bulk data and media on the cards. Without a slot, my entire mobile storage strategy goes right out the window. This seems like an incredibly foolish design decision, and one that will turn away a large pa
      • by JustNiz (692889)

        Just to let you know, no Google/Nexus phones have SD slots either. That's another range of phone models to avoid.

        I did read somewhere that it was actually a (very retarded) conscious decision by Google to not have SD slots on their phones, the intent being to force you to store everything in the cloud and stream it as-needed instead. I guess the moron who thought of that one didn't even consider how people would watch a DVD or do anything else while in-flight or anywhere out of cell range, or the added load

    • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @06:19PM (#46828267)

      I'm frankly surprised not many other people here seem to be all over the lack of an SD slot.

      For $50 bucks more you get the 64GB model, and forget about it.
      What do you need an SD slot for exactly? Do you routinely SWAP cards? Maybe you do.. but I NEVER have. If it had an SD slot, I'd buy a 32GB or 64GB card and then forget about it.

      So buying a 64GB phone... amounts to the same difference for me.

      I like having my entire music collection, my entire photo library and 1 or 2 movies with me just in case

      This seems contrived to be an amount of data designed to fit precisely more than the 64GB built in yet be less than the 128GB you can add to, for example, and S5.

      I mean, why only 1 or 2 movies? Why not all of them? And just your photos, not your hundreds of hours hi def home movies?

      Is it because if you wanted your 500 DVD rips, then even a 128GB sd card won't meet your needs?

      Or is it just that you need precisely 128GB of storage; and if a phone came with 128GB of storage but no SD slot, what then? Would it meet your needs or not?

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        Sorry whatever is left over from 64gb after system and apps have taken their chunks wont cut it for me.

        I also like having my stuff on a totally different and removeable media for several reasons:
        1) I can completely fill up my SD card with my crap without also worrying about putting my phone system or apps out of storage space, because they use the internal memory no the SD card.

        2) Its easier to see exactly what you have if you keep your media on the SD card, as its the only thing on there, whereas the phone

        • by vux984 (928602)

          I can completely fill up my SD card with my crap without also worrying about putting my phone system or apps out of storage space, because they use the internal memory no the SD card.

          You need more than 64GB, and that's fine but you just need more than 64GB... it doesn't really matter if its internal or not does it.

          For example, suppose the samsung s5 only supported up to 32GB SD cards. So 16GB internal + 32GB SD card... would that be better than 64GB internal? I seriously doubt it.

          2) Its easier to see exact

          • by JustNiz (692889)

            >> You need more than 64GB, and that's fine but you just need more than 64GB... it doesn't really matter if its internal or not does it.

            You are so badly short of common sense and misunderstanding all my points I'm thinking you must be trolling. Let me try one more time to spell it out:
            One big advantage of having a completely separate volume (i.e SD card) for media is that you can even fill up the SD card completely, and still have no fear that the phone will become unstable because the os or some inst

      • What do you need an SD slot for exactly?

        For getting my data off the phone when I drop it and it no longer turns on.

    • The problem with SD slot, isn't with the manufacturers, it is with Android itself. Google as depreciated the usage of "external" storage, because of issues with SD storage. Some are actually good reasons (security), while others are to protect App developers from idiots who want to move apps to SD card.

      Read about it here: http://www.androidcentral.com/... [androidcentral.com]

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        All Google has done is to force badly behaved apps to stop writing all over SD cards. As far as I understand, this is a good thing with no downsides, unless you happen to be one of the clueless developers that are hacking sloppy apps together.

        I didn't see anything in the article that would or should lead to the "deprecation" of SD storage itself, in fact now it is less likely to get trashed by ill-behaved apps, its use should be more supported, not less.

        A policy of deprecation of SD, if it exists at all, s

        • Well, when your app, takes a picture, and puts it on the SD card, and you stop liking the app, and deleted it, and it deletes the photos as well, then you'll understand the issue. Until then, have fun.

          I shouldn't have to hook my phone up to a computer to move files around without worry.

          • by JustNiz (692889)

            Are you sayting this is a common probem? (I wouldn't know because I've never personally expereinced it or even heard of it until now). Does it only happen if you install the app on SD rather than internal memory?

  • In my book, if you can't hold it and type with one hand, it's more like a mini tablet than a phone. Everyone else at work got the Samsung S3; I got the mini.

  • For a site whose readership is widely associated with desktop Linux, I'm surprised to see so much interest in CyanogenMod. I loved my Nokia N900 and plan on buying a Neo900 [neo900.org] phone both for the fact that it runs the same Debian-like system as my big computer and for the feeling of privacy (the cellular modem is separated from the rest of the system). I discovered the world of Cyanogen only after the wife bought a Samsung Android phone and wondered about its upgradeability. Compared to my own phone, Cyanogen s
  • Looks really nice yet lack of SD and user replaceable battery is a deal breaker. Would think devices targeting cyanogen crowd would come standard with at least SD slot.

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