The launch of the new Cyanogen Inc. company and soon-to-follow installer app available for all in the Google Play store hasn't been smooth sailing, with the sudden removal of the custom camera app Focal by Guillaume Lesniak (AKA xplodwild). Some internal disagreements resulted in the developer leaving the company and a couple of days later posting a beta version of Focal on the Google Play store, which looks fairly good albeit with a few broken parts. The news comes the 5th and final trailer for the Oppo N1 which more than just hints that this will be the first smartphone coming with Cyanogen pre-installed. This should be revealed in today's Beijing unveiling event.
The official Oppo YouTube channel presented a new video suggesting a collaboration between the Chinese manufacturer and Cyanogen Inc. It simply shows the founder of CyanogenMod, Steve Kondik, saying, in bad echo-y audio quality, that he is ''looking forward to attending the Oppo event in Beijing'' and that ''there is exciting news'' ahead followed by a ''suspenseful'' boom-like sound effect, presumably to get us pumped about what ''possibilities unfold on September 23rd'' during the official unveiling of Oppo's new flagship, the N1. Also, Kondik is wearing Google Glass in the video: curiouser and curiouser!
Although we've already been aware of the relationship between the two parties, the fact that the video presents the secret-hiding, half-smirk of Kondik is pretty revealing that the Oppo N1 could be the first smartphone to receive an entirely new software. This cooperation is definitely interesting considering the CyanogenMod custom ROM - which was previously mostly used by those skilled enough to install a custom ROM - would now be available to millions in the form of pre-installed software.
Focal officially removed
A few days ago, we also received the news of the Focal camera app from developer Guillaume Lesniak being removed from the CyanogenMod custom ROM. The first reason for this, officially posted by the company, was that the camera app was presumably unstable. However afterwards Klondik himself posted further reasons for the departure of the developer as shown below.
A new home
Now the ''Focal app'' can be found in the Google Play Store, though still in its beta phase meaning that there are still a few bugs to be fixed and features to improve on, such as the broken panorama mode. The camera app includes many other features like burst, timer and scene mode, has the shutter speed of Sony devices as well as a Google Photosphere look-alike called PicSphere for 360-degree sphere shots. Like stock Android (except here you pull down) you have access to the review drawer which shows you all your recently taken pics. The main disadvantages for the free app are that it's only available with devices running Android 4.1 or later and that the ROM is no longer available through the Cyanogen community. The beta app is open sourced and can be installed through Github. (Don't know much about custom ROMs, check out rooting for beginners)
It will be interesting to see how well Cyanogen does without the popularity that the Focal had brought to it. Focal had been an important part of CyanogenMod Nemesis Phase 1 that came out 2 months ago. The relationship between Cyanogen and Focal was therefore quite short-lived.
What does Cyanogen mean for Oppo?
The chinese smartphone manufacturer, which is more or less underground in Europe and the USA, combined with the popular custom ROM is the beginning of a fascinating friendship. What we can assume up to this point in time is that CyanogenMod will be pre-installed on Oppo devices, but it is just a matter of hours before we find out exactly what everything entails.
The teaser video, the newly formed Cyanogen Inc, the release of the Oppo N1, Google Glass...all of these somehow fit together in a wonderful puzzle, but what does it all mean? Stay tuned with us to find out.