Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Oneplus and OxygenOS and CyanogenMod

Now trust me, any OnePlus mobile phone owner who has also watched the Science Fiction masterpiece Interstellar will find the above caption hilarious.

Marcus is one such user.

Now I don't know all the answers but to explain further.

OnePlus is an infamous Chinese Smartphone manufacture which in 2014 released a truly class leading 4G capable mobile phone, with astonishing specifications and a really great and low price.

As part of manufacturing strategy  (I propose that they could not and can still not manufacture very many units) they had this brilliant idea of restricting sales using the invite system.

The invite system means you can't goto any shop and buy the product but must wait from an invite from someone that you know or who gives you an invite  (for example after you have created an account and said nice things on the OnePlus user forum).

Yes, I know, just ridiculous!

Anyway, this odd marketing strategy had its benefits:

- OnePlus was seen as exclusive
- The low price and fantastic specs made enthusiasts really want one
- Many people succumbed and played their rather annoying game

Of late OnePlus has had /open days/ when you can simply just order the phone.  Of course even today after >12 months, they still don't ship to Marcus's present home country of Switzerland, so I had to flippin fly to England to pick it up.  Thanks OnePlus for making me pay 20% VAT instead of 8% !

CyanogenMod from Cyanogen was the coolest of /improved/ and enhanced Android distributions.

Anybody can install the Android Software Development Toolkit  (SDK), unlock their phone and install a CyanogenMod version of Android onto their phone.  But it was simply unheard of that a manufacturer might choose this as its default Android release, with all of its special features and customisations right out of the box.

This made the OnePlus phone even more irresistible to Android devotees.

Even Marcus was convinced, hence my long and contorted order to England and my (months later) pickup.

Where for art thou Lollipop?
So Google announced Android 5, aka Lolipop  in November 2014 and manufacturers and the likes of Cyanogen were then rushing to release an update to their mobile phone with an Operating System of Android 5.0 or later.

OnePlus users, being geeky, being CyanogenMod, being super techy users were particularly keen to get theirs ahead of others ...

OnePlus kept saying soon

Then a bombshell!

Cyanogen announced an exclusive partnership with vendor Micromax in India, meaning that OnePlus could not legally sell phones there.

Cyanogen becomes the bad Guy
So Cyanogen has gone from super-dooper, enthusiast custom Android ROM developer, to villan of the peace ...

They have been developing CyanogenMod 12 aka CM12, based on Android 5.0.x but have not yet released it. Being an Android Enthusiast means having the toys first not last!  Motorola, Samsung ... all have Android 5.0.x formal distributions whilst Cyanogen only has beta releases

Worse ... Google announced Android 5.1 to fix some memory issues and other matters.

CM12 is based on Android 5.0.x and is late, so one can only assume that CM12.1, or whatever it will be called!, will be really, really late.

In other almost comical news ...

- Microsoft has invested in Cyanogen.  Personally I still like Microsoft, I've used them for over 30 years now.  We have history together :)  But the /community/ who basically hates Microsoft was not impressed

- Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster has adversely responded to OS delays using the Steve Jobs patented /I know best reply mode/

- Cyanogen then also stated an intent to build a future OS without Google involvement.  This would mean not using any Google apps like gmail or google-now and would mean it's own app store. [See link, it's not an April Fool]

Meanwhile, back at OnePlus
OnePlus faced with the above licensing issues then also went bananas and decided to drop CyanogenMod and release its own OxygenOS.  This is an almost standard (aka stock) version of Google Android 5.0.2, but not [now] what everybody wanted, i.e.  an OS based on Android 5.1

OnePlus owner survival strategies

Only a single OnePlus
A user who only has a single OnePlus phone ...
- Don't install OxygenOS if like most people you already use CyanogenMod beta OS which is already at Android 5.02
- Nightly update of Android builds using TWRP and downloads
- Personally the beta builds are very stable to me. It never once crashed on me yet!
- keep waiting for CyanogenMod 12 official, based on Android 5.02

Two Phones
If you are en existing OnePlus owner like Marcus, who also has by a stroke of luck his old Google Nexus 5 phone

- OnePlus phone is demoted to second phone
- Luckily I have an Orange Swiss subscription with 2x SIMS, so I can use both phones concurrently

- Daily driver is now the Google Nexus 5 with Android 5.1
- On OnePlus: Nightly update of Android builds, using TWRP and downloads
- Wait for CyanogenMod 12, based on Android 5.02

One thing is for sure, Cyanogen has not just shot themselves in the head once  (Micromax licensing) but it's non delivery of a Lollipop version of its Operating System in April 2015, means it is too late for it to redeem itself. And that was before its recent bonkers comments

What phone to buy in 2015?
You would be best advised not to buy anything today.  Wait until at least July 2015 when the current range of sooper dooper Phones (HTC M9, Samsung S6, LG G3, Asus Zenfone 2 ...) are fully available.  Oh, and OnePlus will also have a 2015 phone, as yet unannounced.

OnePlus main website
OnePlus Cyanogen banned India
Disambiguation Cyanogen OS and CyanogenMod

Once TWRP is installed then the daily upgrade of your OS takes me less than 300 seconds end to end ...

 Updates show up automatically

 Once downloaded you reboot into TWRP

 Select the OS image you want

 Selected latest April 06 image

 Zip installing

And re-booting

Check OSlevel to show no funny business!