Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus plans to begin shipping their first smartphone in India in December. The OnePlus One has been available to customers in other parts of the globe (in limited supplies) for months, and soon customers in India will be able to get their hands on the 5.5 inch phone with a 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 13MP camera.
But one of the other things that makes the OnePlus One special might not apply to Indian models: when the phone launches in India it will run Cyanogen OS software. But it won’t receive any software updates from Cyanogen. So OnePlus is developing its own Android-based operating system which it will release as a free update in the future.
Update: Cyanogen says it will continue to support Indian OnePlus One phones with software updates… which makes me wonder if that means OnePlus will not be releasing its own version of Android 5.0 for the device in early 2015 after all.
Update 2: Actually, what they meant to say was that they would support *global* OnePlus One phones used by customers in India. If you buy one of the new phones that are marketed specifically for India, you’ll get a software update from OnePlus as described below.
That would apparently be Micromax, which plans to start selling mid-range smartphones with Cyanogen OS in December.
Cyanogen is the for-profit company founded by some of the core developers of CyanogenMod, which is an open source custom ROM based on Android Open Source Project code.
There’s nothing stopping anyone from porting CyanogenMod to run on just about any Android smartphone or tablet, but the Cyanogen OS has some special features including Google Mobile Services certification, which means device makers such as OnePlus can pre-load the Google Play Store, Google Maps, and other apps on a Cyanogen OS device.
OnePlus says customers outside of India will continue to receive free software updates from Cyanogen. But since there will be no official support or updates for Indian users, OnePlus will launch a software update in February which will bring the company’s own custom version of Android to Indian users. It will be based on Andorid 5.0 Lollipop and OnePlus says it will not add any “unnecessary customizations” to Google’s latest operating system.
OnePlus already had a software team working on its own Android-based firmware for future phones. Now that there’s a need for new firmware for the OnePlus One in at least one market, the team will push their work a little sooner than expected.