What would the “perfect smartphone” look like? A new startup, OnePlus, has decided to find out.
Last month, one Pete Lau resigned as vice president of China-based smartphone maker Oppo. Since that resignation, rumors have been circulating that he wanted to build a new brand with Cyanogen, maker of CyanogenMod, an open source customized firmware distribution for some Android mobile devices that offers such enhancements as CPU overclocking and support for Bluetooth tethering. Lau had helped Oppo’s high-end N1 become the first smartphone to support CyanogenMod as an option.
On the day that Lau announced his resignation, Cyanogen’s Steve Kondik posted on Google+ that the two of them would create a phone fusing “truly amazing software with the highest quality hardware available.” Lau similarly posted that their efforts “may change the world of Android.” No need to set the bar too low.
This week, Lau announced that he is forming OnePlus, which will “spare no expense” in its quest for the perfect smartphone. On the OnePlus website, the shoot-for-the-moon aim is apparent. “Never Settle,” it proclaims in a giant headline. “We don’t accept the excuse that you can’t create a perfect phone at a disruptive price.”
In a posting on the OnePlus forum, Lau asks for reader views on “AMOLED vs IPS screens, 8974AB vs 8974AC processors, and your views on external memory and battery life.” Some reports have suggested that the OnePlus perfect smartphone will contain the upcoming system-on-a-chip Snapdragon 800 2.5 GHz processor, the MSM8974AC. A product is expected sometime in the first six months of 2014, sold exclusively online, but it’s not yet clear if it’s initially for the Chinese market. Similarly, it’s also unclear who is funding the effort, or even where OnePlus is physically based, although the founder’s background indicates it might be in China.
One question: If the goal of a perfect smartphone were actually ever reached, would the stars go out?