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OnePlus launches 16GB model in India; OS to come in March

OnePlus One

OnePlus has launched the 16GB model of its OnePlus One phone in the Indian market for a price of Rs 18,999. This release comes after the 64GB model was launched by the company in December last year.

Similar to the previous launch, OnePlus has an exclusive tie-up with Amazon to sell the phone, which is sold on an invite basis. Other than the difference in memory, the only difference between the phones is the color, OnePlus calls the the 64GB version ‘sandstone’ black and the 16GB version ‘silk’ white. Both phones come with CyanogenMod 11S and feature a 5.5 inch full-HD display, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 13 megapixel camera among others.

What about the OS?

What is interesting here is despite the launch, OnePlus does not really have an operating system to offer in India. Granted the phone ships with a version of the cm11 build, it will not receive any more OTA updates. One would have expected the Chinese company to have its own OS ready before shipping the 16GB versions, since the only option for current 64GB users of the phone in India is to sideload CM11 updates or flash a new ROM and lose all data.

OnePlus currently does have a ROM in the works called OxygenOS. However the company had previously promised to have an OS ready within three months of Google releasing its final Lollipop build, which happened in November. Now that has been delayed too, come March OnePlus users will finally get their hands on Lollipop. There is a catch for Indian users though, the cm12 version can only be side loaded, while the OxygenOS will require a clean install, neither very convenient for an average user.

Other than the lack of updates the phone’s memory seems a bit lacking. Many high end mobile apps take close to a GB of space and after buying a high end phone, lacking enough memory to actually download many high end apps can seem a bit limiting, especially as the phone also lacks an expansion slot.

OnePlus’s history with Cyanogen

Note that previously, OnePlus was granted a non-exclusive license to use Cyanogen’s trademarks and software across the entire world except for Mainland China, however Cyanogen later terminated its relationship and requested OnePlus to stop using its brand name for marketing in India. Cyanogen also changed its stance on software updates by declining to provide software updates for OnePlus One devices directly sold in India, after committing to provide the same to OnePlus devices earlier in the day, following multiple requests by OnePlus.

Subsequently, OnePlus was stopped from shipping or selling its smartphones in India, following an interim injunction by the Delhi High Court. This was after the domestic handset maker Micromax complained that its exclusive rights had been infringed by OnePlus launching OnePlus One in the country, running a custom version of Cyanogenmod. The court eventually lifted the ban and let OnePlus resume imports and sales of its phone the next week.

Note that, earlier OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei had said that they learnt about the exclusive agreement between Micromax and Cyanogen on November 26, just six days before the India launch, which led to the situation where Indian users of 64GB OnePlus do not recieve updates. What is the excuse this time?

OnePlus in India:

In November last year, OnePlus had appointed Vikas Agarwal as the general manager of OnePlus India, responsible for setting up OnePlus’s operations in the country, building a local team and launching OnePlus One in the country. The company was also looking to set up a research and development centre in Bangalore the next month. It had mentioned then that it would even consider manufacturing in India if the conditions were right.

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