Not quite by choice, OnePlus is creating Android phone software

Amid weeks of turmoil between its software partner and a competing phone maker in India, OnePlus now offers its own Android software, at least in an early form, according to Android Police. The company behind the popular OnePlus One handset announced the official ROM on its own forum site, explaining that the software is a basic platform that will improve over time:

It’s time we show you just a little bit of what we’ve been working on. This is the first step in what will become our own custom ROM. It’s so early, in fact, that this build contains no extras beyond the stock features of AOSP Lollipop. It’s the base that we will continue to build upon, improve, and customize as we stabilize core functionalities on the latest firmware updates.

Essentially, this is the first step for OnePlus to build its own Android interface based on the open source version of Android 5.0 software, so there are no [company]Google[/company] services or apps in the build.

AOSP, or Android Open Source Project, software is available for anyone to use but OnePlus appears to have optimized it — or at least started to do so — for the particular hardware components in its OnePlus One handset. The official forum post provides the download link, installation instructions and list of known issues.

OnePlus made waves early last year by partnering with CyanogenMod (CM) — creator of custom Android software — to debut the first official CM phone in the OnePlus One. So why is OnePlus trying to create its own custom version of Android?



Last month, India-based Micromax filed suit against OnePlus, a Chinese company, claiming it has an exclusive deal to sell CM phones in India.

That’s surely leading to some uncertainty for OnePlus’s sales prospects in India, which is second only to China in both population and handset sales potential. Assuming Micromax does have the software exclusivity it claims, OnePlus will need its own handsets to run some other version of Android for any chance at selling phones in India; something it likely didn’t plan to do initially, although OnePlus did officially note in August that it was putting together a software team.

This post was updated at 4:38pm to reflect the August software team announcement.