Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
OnePlus One – $299 CyanogenMod 'killer' smartphone (oneplus.net)
314 points by iamben on Apr 23, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 224 comments

The single thing that really stands out for me in the pricing:

    16G $299
    64G $349
$50 for 64G of high quality flash memory at retail price actually sounds reasonable!

It is nice, but it is 48GB (64-16).

True enough. Meanwhile Apple will charge you $200 for the same upgrade.

(Yes, I know the Apple price isn't really about the flash, it's about segmented the user base into 'will pay (lots) more' and 'willing to compromise on the storage to get the cheaper deal'. The net result is much the same for the end user though.)


No, but you have to at least subtract the cost of the 16GB one.

A startup smartphone manufacturer and a community-developed fork of an open source operating system. Such things legends are made of.

Wikipedia says the company was founded just a few months ago, in December. Even with using "commodity" components, I wouldn't have thought that 4-5 months was enough time to go all the way through a design cycle for something like a phone. The founder used to work for Oppo, is Oppo manufacturing these? Edit: according to the Engadget review/article, these are being built by Oppo.

It's basically an Oppo (founder worked there) Find 7.

If you partner with an ODM you can come out with these in a short timeframe.

For everyone thinking "What's the catch?" the catch is, you can't buy it.

They are doing 100x 'invite-only' purchases during April, and I haven't seen anything explaining more availability than that.

So the "catch" is that they only have a hundred to sell over the next week? That doesn't seem like much of a catch, it sounds like marketing.

Yeah, and it looks like they're not actually selling them - they're giving them away if you smash your old phone!

This seems incredibly wasteful.

I wish it was available in non-huge form factor, like this one, at most http://www.gsmarena.com/htc_one_mini-5505.php

I quite like the bigger screen, if they were going for multiple devices it'd be great if they'd make a smaller one too but, since they need to focus, I'm glad they went for a larger one. In addition since they're trying to feature compete at a lower price point it makes sense for them to go for the bigger one first.

P.S. does anyone know how they can afford to sell it for so cheap? just looking at the specs I find it hard to understand.

Too huge for the hand and pocket, IMO, as well as virtually all modern phones. Really, is there such a big difference between a 5" and 4"? It's a phone, first and foremost, a thing that has to be easily handled and pocketed.

I bought my first smartphone recently, was initially going for a used Nexus 4, since it's on the smaller side of what is considered the usual today, got nice specs and software directly from Google. But when I looked at HTC One mini in the store, I knew I would regret if I buy any other phone, since it's not just ok, but kinda nice; probably the best design you can get short of buying an iPhone (not that it's impossible, but I get a feeling that the competitors are hardly trying). Even though I'm not a fan of Sense UI, and there's no Cyanogen support. I'd like it to be even smaller still (maybe 4.0" instead of 4.3 screen, it shouldn't be a notable difference), but you can't get that with modern phones.

An evidence that current phones are too big is the existence of this: http://www.htc.com/us/accessories/htc-mini-plus/ Get a second, smaller, phone for your phone, so that you won't have to pull out your huge phone each time you need to make or receive a call!

The Moto X is almost exactly the same size as the HTC One mini, and only slightly larger than the iPhone 5S. It has a larger screen that either, due to not have an absurdly large bezel on all sides.


Seconded. With the Moto X you get great build quality and hardware, personalization, excellent form factor, stock Android with genuine enhancements, and the price is now down to $350/$400 unlocked. Sadly, some people are put off by the spec sheet, but I find that the X has excellent performance and a beautiful screen.

I find it quite a bit easier to reach across the width of the iPhone's screen than the Moto X. It's the difference between comfortable and not comfortable for me. I wish there was a high-spec Android phone with the screen size and dimensions of the iPhone.

The Sony Z1 Compact is as close as you can get today. Only slightly larger than an iPhone and with comparable specs to the high end android phones.

The dimensions of the Z1 Compact are almost identical to those of the Moto X. Most importantly to my one-handed use concern, it's only narrower by 400 μm. The iPhone 5/5s is almost 7mm narrower than the Moto X.

android phones just try very hard to have the largest numbers in all features.

they can't have lots of pixels and cheap price if they go for a small screen. screens are absurdly cheaper as you lower the resolution. and since they can't lower the pixel count, they sell larger and larger phablets.

> Really, is there such a big difference between a 5" and 4"?

Yes! 5" is enough to watch videos or read on (though 6" would be better). 4" isn't.

/happy Note 2 user.

The bigger problem is that with such a low quantity of these devices on the market it'll be hard to get accessories like waterproof cases and such. I'll probably still try to get one, but that's definitely a downside.

and I wondering why takes an eternity to load this site: http://cl.ly/V9dZ/fail_one.png

Welcome to the world of ecommerce software.

The OnePlus site seems to be reduced to a crawl. Engadget has a reasonable review here though: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/23/oneplus-one-launch-ceo-pe...

That review makes it sound like an amazing phone. Chinese companies that understand product quality like this should have other handset manufacturers scared. It sounds like they're taking their design to almost Apple levels of obsession.

What binary blobs are required for it to operate? I want a phone that doesn't require nonfree firmware in order for the 802.11 wireless chip to operate.

I believe the 'standard' two, 3D graphics and the LTE radio. I've seen efforts to create an open source graphics driver for Adreno (the GPU) but not the radio. Once you've got both of those you can build a phone for Stallman with all the code available for inspection. Maybe the Ettus guys could help with that.

There's quite a bit of proprietary software in a smartphone beyond just the GPU and modem driver. The entire baseband firmware is another (closed) operating system to contend with.

Is the baseband code replaceable, or permanent burnt onto a chip which can only be modified by replacing the physical chip with a new one?

I tend to bundle the baseband blob and the modem blob as "the radio" but agree that is an over simplification.

A big simplification indeed. Replacing the modem bit should actually be pretty easy, it's just the interface glue. Replacing the baseband is much harder as that implements all the wireless protocols needed for GSM/3G/LTE. Since the baseband tends to run on an independent processor capable of accessing all main memory it's kind of scary what could be there. Even if the hardware design is better and the baseband is behind some form of MMU it is still capable of sending your location and all your traffic to an attacker. That together with the fact that most Android phones don't get any meaningful upgrades makes Android a minefield when it comes to security.

> Even if the hardware design is better and the baseband is behind some form of MMU it is still capable of sending your location and all your traffic to an attacker.

We could just consider baseband to be on the untrusted side of the network. Without access to anything but the restricted communication channels the worst things it could do is perform some calculations to eat your battery.

Network operator already knows (or may discover) your rough location and has access to your traffic anyway. So, just make sure private traffic's well encrypted and authenticated, and develop the hardware to be capable of provably powering down the whole baseband module when you want it to be off (location privacy). Problem solved.

And audio, and camera... Etc.

Qualcomm doesn't release open source drivers for Adreno graphics, so there's that at least. There's a reverse engineering project "freedreno" but I doubt they use that (I don't think it even supports all features).

In the ARM SoC space that's quite common (blobs at least for 3D graphics).

I don't know if there's something else.

If you are worried about security, that ship has sailed- have you heard about the baseband processor?

Absolutely. I understand that cell phones are primarily used for spying and occasionally used for making phone calls. I'm looking for a phone that requires the fewest number of proprietary components in order to function adequately.

What exactly makes this a killer? I'm having a hard time seeing it. It just looks liked any one of a dozen similar Android phones, with more power/memory/horsepower?

Calling something a killer by itself does not a killer make.

My favorite feature of Cyanogen now is that they have Whisperpush enabled by default, which secures all text communications from a Cyanogen phone to another or to a TextSecure app.


I hope they will be willing to integrate RedPhone by default in it, too, eventually.

As someone who's more technical, I don't necessarily "need" Whisperpush, since I could just use TextSecure directly - however I think it's great that anyone who would be buying this phone would have secure communications by default (without even having to care about it - which is the brilliance of it), and the more people buy it the higher chance they will be communicating with a TextSecure user (or with another TextSecure federated client, since I think you can use the TextSecure protocol like you can with OTR).

Last I heard, Whisperpush on CyanogenMod only actually worked if you had the GApps package installed which isn't entirely legal and certainly isn't something they could get away with including as standard.

Maybe can't get away with including as standard, but is it really not entirely legal to install it?


The best disclaimer sentence I've found here is: The Google Apps packages are NOT SUPPORTED in any way by Cyanogenmod. Not exactly a huge endorsement, but saying it's not entirely legal is something else entirely.

Would like someone who has expertise to somehow reconcile the above comment to an article like this if possible: http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/12/19/the-oppo-n1-is-offic...

Not sure what makes people think it is illegal. Not supported, sure, but illegal? Is there a source for this statement?

It depends. If you are installing CyanogenMod on your phone, then installing GApps is not very legal. However, Cyanogen team has been working with Google to get devices like the OnePlus One certified by Google and preloading them with fully legal GApps package.

Source for that?

this device will have Google CTS and therefore google apps pre-installed.

Basically, you get 90% of the features of the best Android smartphones at half the price.

The Nexus 5 is only $350. This phone is nominally cheaper, but I wouldn't say 'killer'. I will think about getting it next time I purchase a phone though (I use a Nexus 5 now).

OnePlus has 64GB of storage for $350, Nexus 5 only 16GB. It also seems to have a significantly better camera and much faster, too (Rear: f/2.0 13 MP Sony Exmor IMX 214 sensor, w/4K video recording. Dual-LED flash. 0.3s shutter speed) It also has a 3100 mAh battery vs 2300 mAh for Nexus 5.

The processor I don't care about since 801 is just a repackaged 800 anyway, like all of Qualcomm's new processors.

They're short shifting themselves here by not having a microSD slot. The biggest check against Nexus 5 I know of is no microSD, and that very small memory. 3G isn't as fast or as available as Google wants to believe.

Personally, my main reasons for not buying a Nexus 5 were the battery, the camera, and that I wanted a slightly bigger phone. The OnePlus One seems to take care of all three (although I'm still waiting for in-depth reviews).

Curious- do you know if Cyanogen-based phones have access to all the Google services like the Play Store, Maps, etc.?

Yes, if you install the apps.

edit: maybe not what most people are looking for, so I'll elaborate. To install google apps, you'll need to unlock the device and flash the gapps package. Some people don't want to go that route, so in that case there are two possibilities:

a) You can't have google apps.

b) If OnePlus gets Google CTS certified, then they can bundle the play store and other apps, signed, and bootloader locked. Oppo did so for the N1, so the N1 is a cyanogenmod phone with official google apps support.

OnePlus is Google CTS. The One comes bundled with Google Apps.

Yes! The phone will come with Google services installed.

slantyyz: yes, but you have to download the google apps package separately to get around the legal issues.

Not needed, the Phone will be Google CTS certified so it will come installed with Google Services.

Download it from whom?

I used to hate not having a MicroSD slot on my Galaxy Nexus. Then I realised that I don't really need to have that much music/videos/games (the only things that challenged my 16GB capacity) readily available on the phone. It is good enough for me that I can connect a USB storage device (thanks to USB-OTG) and access any large files from there -and that's something I actually find myself needing to do only in rare cases.

Having a reasonably priced 64GB version removes much of the need for an SD slot though, at least for most people. Plus given the direction Google is going, the external storage is becoming less and less useful.

That stuff is nice, but this phone is significantly newer (as far as mobile phone go). It looks like the Nexus 6 is coming out in November. I would expect it to have similar specs.

This has a much bigger battery than the N5, which addresses one of the N5's key weaknesses.

I have a Sony Xperia Z1, which has a 3000mAh battery, and while the battery life is pretty good, it doesn't really last a whole day. So I don't know about that 3100mAh with the 5.5" screen.

I have a Sony Xperia Z1 as well and the battery lasts over 3 days. Make sure to enable the stamina mode http://developer.sonymobile.com/2013/11/26/power-management-... it actually works pretty well.

I have stamina mode activated most of the time but I will check out the tips. Thank you.

I've read that the Nexus 6 is coming out around November and will have a 3,200 mAh battery.

Or there is always the Moto G. 90% of the features at a quarter the price.

It's aiming to compete feature by feature with high-end Android phones and the iPhone, at a substantially lower price point. Not looked closely enough at it to know if it's likely to succeed at that.

Their cheapest model is threading close to the mid-range cheap MTK based Android phones coming out of China.

Ah got it - that makes a lot more sense. I didn't get that impression from their site, so I couldn't understand what the fuss was about. I'm an iPhone user, so I'm probably not exactly their target market, but I sort of still am I suppose, and not being able to understand where a particular Android phone lies on The Grand Scale of Android Phones (without doing a ton of research) has always been one of my frustrations with the Android world.

Am I the only one that cringes each time i see the promise "over a day's worth of battery life."

We used to have 2 weeks of battery life on any normal mobile phone.

You can still get 2 weeks of battery life. Get a Nokia 1100.

It's a trade-off, mate. You're standing at a Lamborghini showroom and saying, "Man, does anyone else here remember when cars used to give us 21 kilometres to the litre?"

Ok, to clarify that's exactly what I did. I was an iPhone 3G/GS user for years, and went back to a Nokia C1-02 2 years ago.

It gives me: - 2 weeks battery life - Edge internet via Opera Mini for when i really need to look something up - email access via inbuilt client for when i really need to check any urgent email

Advantages: - I don't need to worry about running out of battery and not being able to call or message the people that matter to me because my phone spent all of its power connecting to networks to get data that is irrelevant to my day to day happiness or convenience - I have a very good keyboard to type messages an email - I don't need a data plan (my €10 plan comes with 150Mb bundled internet that is more than enough for the browsing and email I do) - I don't worry about loosing / dropping / my phone being stolen - I don't need covers - I can go to the beach and not worry about a sprinkle of water and some sand getting in it - The phone fits in my pocket (any pocket, on any type of clothes) - I'm not constantly inundated with status updates - When I'm with friends I'm not checking facebook, or settling bets on wikipedia, or showing them that great new game, I'm just with them... - When I'm alone, I'm reading a book or contemplating, instead of being absorbed by a never ending stream of entertainment

Disadvantages: - I did miss maps for a while, but quickly went back to the habit of asking strangers for directions which returns an extra human touch to my day

No one says that. Either you say it strangely: "50mpg" or you say it correctly: "5L/100km". If you use imperial units, you must invert every fraction in your life as punishment.

Your facetious comment, amusing as it is, has spawned a discussion below that is comical in its absurdity. Let me put an end to it.

We use the unit 'kilometres per litre' when discussing mileage in India, the country where I was born. Now, India is not the most populous nation in the world, but I wouldn't be so harsh as to call Indians 'no one' ;)

It was meant as a joke, no insult intended. I do not usually post jokes in forums such as HN, but the fuel consumption fraction is a pet peeve of mine. I couldn't resist it.

I teach GMAT classes, and recently, in the effort to be less US-centric, the GMAT started stating problems in metric units. They, however, still use the US fuel consumption fraction, not the European one, and it feels doubly odd.

I did not know India used this strange mix. Learning new stuff every day.

No insult assumed. You were obviously joking. The child comments on the other hand...

Anyway, I wonder how this came about. I suppose it's just because India was a British colony that adopted the metric system.

"In countries using the metric system fuel economy is stated in kilometres per litre (km/L)"


The German car I bought in Canada shows fuel consumption in L/100km. I've never seen km/L before.

Not my experience in Canada. L/100km

Believe me: absolutely nobody uses km/l, ever.

km/L appears to be standard in Malaysia: http://paultan.org/2014/02/26/driven-mitsubishi-attrage-21-k...

No need to go back that far. 1202 http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_1202-2573.php is even better, I believe. Seriously, I was using it until last week, when I decided it's time for a smartphone.

No we didn't, not at the time.

Go back ten years and we had a few days worth of battery life. Fast forward to now, and you'll get two weeks out of any non-smart phone.

That is not true. If you bought a bigger battery, you could have 3 weeks 10 years ago (I had). And even without, 1-2 for a mobile phone was normal.

Even the extended batteries were like a Boba Fett jetpack on the back of your phone and increased the size substantially. Most of the power users I knew (2,000+ minutes/month) would still burn through the battery in short order anyways. They'd get maybe an extra 6 hours, but not 2 weeks worth.

Which phones had 2 weeks battery life back then? Do you mean only on standby, or normal use?

That one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_5100 (10 days, standby).

I had the 5120 for ages with a better battery from ebay, that came closer to my claims.

Ten years ago I'd get around 7 days out of my Sony J70.

The Lumia 900 gets about a week of battery life. It's the flagship Windows Phone 7 phone so everything runs smoothly. It has nice screen that's readable in direct sunlight, and it's fairly indestructible so you don't have to flinch if you drop it.

really ? with mobile data turn on and everything?

how's ur daily usage?

Yeah, with 3G (at the time AT&T didn't have LTE in my area). Once for an experiment, I kept it in airplane mode and only turned the screen on to check the battery, and it went 13 days before it died!

You had 2 weeks of "standby time" battery life, but in practice it was more like 3-4 days. I agree all OEMs should be pushing for 48+ hours of battery life, though, at the cost of performance or even higher resolutions and whatnot. Because when they'll promise 2 days of battery life, heavy users will still get only like 1, because with the phones promising 24h of battery life now, heavy users get like half of that. It would be great if everyone could get at least 24h of battery life, which means the "average" battery life should be 48h or more.

3100 mAh shall actually be around 2 days of semi-heavy use. Owning Nexus 4 and 5, they both exceed two days of normal use or 1 day of heavy use, but the advertised oneplus one is going to have extraordinarly larger battery.

So I would say, expect it last two full days as long as you are not overly heavy mobile user.

Yes, not two weeks, but dumbphones never lasted two weeks back these days. Honestly the new smartphones are finally catching up with reasonable battery life expectations than two years ago.

How do you get 2 days of normal use out of an N5? Mine (t-mobile) makes it about 15 hours with 2-3 hours of screen time before hitting the red.

Stock apps, disabled Google+ (it was causing CPU usage spikes on both phoens randomly), minimal/no services running in the background. My daily usage usually consits of (accumulated): 30min browsing, 1h hangouts, 2h podcasts/music (though pre-downloaded by wifi), 1 minute calls (yes I sometimes use it for calling).

Let me say that 2 days is when I am gentle with the phone, otherwise it is around 1.5. In any case, a huge difference to how were the first smartphones hardly surviving until the evening.

turn off data connections and wifi and you can get a couple of days worth of battery life.

And that mobile phone didn't do half what this and other smart phones do.

As always in hardware, established volume manufacturers are going to have a huge edge on any newcomer. Companies like Samsung and Apple have an astonishing vertical range in their manufacturing process, with their own IP cores / custom processors / custom operating systems / custom antenna design / custom case design. You can't just go out and beat all that at once, and offer the same product but cheaper.

I find the comments who say "omg it's not cheap why should I buy this" a bit condescending. You can't be any cheaper than the big companies, or else you'll have to beat them at what they're good at. If you can, you're an established player, good on you, but you most likely don't belong on HN.

As always in startup terms, you have to find your individual edge. This will always be a small gadget type of thing initially (as with most web startups), hoping to attain more traction down the line, enabling you to extend your product step by step. I really liked the Jolla phone with its I2C interface and the "second half" concept. Sweet stuff. Unique to the market, catering to the small production volumes they would be confronted with, and most importantly attracting just the right crowd of producers. If Seth Godin's Tribe Marketing rings a bell with you, then this is it.

Oneplus One, or Oppo for short, brings none of this to the table. They have a good high-volume manufacturing process, and have been selling single quantities on aliexpress for a long time. They seem good, but they had nothing unique going for them whatsoever. They used to be the archetypal me-too chinese manufacturer that tries to make a difference by striving for spec high scores (more megapixels! yay!), but neccessarily failing to deliver in other regards.

They have been looking for their edge for some time now, first with that rotatable camera gadget instead of a separate front camera, which at least got them some attention. Alas, there was a reason all other products came with two separate cameras, one being distinct usage scenarios for the two cameras and another being the rather complex case design. So at the end of the day, their design was just a stunt to demonstrate their manufacturing capabilities, and also their ability to justify large investments into injection molds. Impressive, but not attractive to me.

So their next attempt is a tacked on piece of open source software. Of course, these two companies are looking for a match here, with cyanogenmod having no clear business process but a distinctive product, and Oppo having everything else. It still feels like a cheap concept, and evidently they are centering their sales pitch around price. This always feels like a warning sign to me, indicative of a low emphasis on R&D. (Especially when compared to Samsung and Apple, who pump out a remarkable lot of innovative stuff even though they are market leaders.)

So, yeah. Personally I'll be using my second-hand Samsung Note 2 for the time being, and as soon as I feel adventurous I'll try out the Jolla. I'll be watching Oppo, but I could be more excited tbh, and I certainly don't buy into their newly-acquired startup flair. Open Source software just doesn't give you street cred like that anymore.

While vertical integration certainly helps controlling costs and giving flexibility in design, the reality is that the industry has pretty much settled on a singular design in the form of a large flat slab with the latest ARM CPU design, the year's hi-density display of choice, capacitive touchscreen, buttons and ports on the edges, and sensors at the top front and back. There's very little design left to innovate which is why Samsung has resorted to gimmicky and poorly implemented features in it's latest flagship device.

Companies like Qualcomm and Broadcom are trying to get their chips into popular hardware and as a result they offer reference platforms similar to what AMD and nVidia do in the GPU reference designs. The reference platforms are tight and it's very easy for an ODM to take a reference platform, plug in the missing pieces, slap it in a myriad of custom injection molded cases and produce a high quality device.

The primary differentiators these days are the quality of the added components (e.g. LCD, Flash, Camera modules) being attached to the reference design. Typically you pay the Apple or Samsung tax to ensure you're getting a certain level of quality.

While Google doesn't have the vertical infrastructure of Apple or Samsung, they partner with ODMs for their Nexus line using quality components and their software to make comparable devices a a cheaper price point. However since they are at the mercy of the ODM they don't have ultimate control over the price.

This company is doing something very similar to Google but they control the hardware and are relying on Cyanogen Mod's features and appeal to make up for their lack of software prowess.

Personally I think this type of relationship is very promising.

if there's one thing that all the reviews of the s5 seem to have picked up, it's that Samsung's main innovation right now is basically turning it's phone into the Homer Car of phones. They pretty much shove all the hardware bells and whistles onto their phones in a kind of chuck it at the wall and see what sticks method of r&d.

Then they add Touchwiz... oh touchwiz. I have a galaxy note II which has been a pretty decent phone, but I'm sick of the horrendous lag that touchwiz creates, it's ridiculous. +1 for Samsung innovation and r&d.

From reviewers first impressions of the oppo find 7a it's a pretty decent phone. I'm not about to jump into bed with the oneplus yet, but the most important tickboxes are there, it really depends on build quality. I really really do not think they are trying to pimp this as a cyanogenmod phone, it just happens to be a phone that uses that ROM. Is there any reason companies shouldn't be mentioning this?

I'm really not sure what seems cheap here.

Note 2 (and now Note 3) user here.

First thing I do is root and then "freeze" AT&T stuff... and number of Samsung Stuffs... and crap like YPages and Flipbook.

Touchwiz seems nice as well, but tons of other launchers that are much better (Simpler is better IMO. Smart Launcher 2 Pro is my poison of choice).

My main beef with Samsung is Knox and the inevitable fight against rooting that the big boys inevitably launch. Note 3 apparently has KNOX, which will void you warranty if tripped (able to root without tripping on 4.3. 4.4 is still unrootable atm and why my OTA is disabled.).

It's the main reason why I would consider a small guy like this. Stock with no fear of bricking or voiding warranty when I do stuff with MY phone.

absolutely. I am currently considering rooting my note 2 to extend its life and get rid of all the preloaded crap.

I tend to use Apex launcher currently, but it doesn't alleviate touchwiz grodiness; amongst other thing there's that classic samsung pause when waking the phone.

I have no reason to know that this is true, but you might assume that the oneplus will be much easier to root and flash, considering it already has a rom like cyanogenmod. That would definitely make it more attractive to me too if that's the case.

have you considered a nexus 5?

349 without contract is really cheap. Why do you say is not? Is the same as the LG Nexus 5.

I was thinking the same, and I have the LG Nexus 5. Most current gen smart phones without contract are more like $600.

Which is pretty outrageous, given it typically costs an OEM approx $200-$260 to manufacturer a phone.

The Galaxy S5 costs Samsung something like $246 to manufacturer. It sells for $649 off-contract. Pretty big margins for somebody in that pipeline.

It's not outrageous when you consider the marketing, distribution, R&D costs (incl. for future models) and of course, increasing wages (unless you like having people slave away 12 hours a day for $200/month). If you break even, what's the point of establishing a factory in the first place?

Doesn't Samsung spend the most out of all mobile makers on marketing? I would assume they're also paying additional costs for Google Services, patent licenses and other things, which also cut into the actual margin.

That's the part people seem to forget. Software can be expensive because they are paying for several licenses (and for the hardware too) as well us paying several devs, managers, etc. to produce the software that runs on the phone.

> typically costs an OEM approx $200-$260 to manufacturer a phone

Yeah if you can sell 40+ million a quarter. OTOH if you're sales are more like HTC's you sell your flagship phones to carriers for $400 and break even.

Your entire rant completely forgets that Apple runs, on average ~70% profit margin ($700 phone costs about $200 to make). Samsung's profit margins aren't AS high, but still are massive which help drive profit.

Your analysis pretends that Apple and Samsung are selling very custom hardware at a margin, and so one cannot beat the margin AND beat the custom hardware.

But there is a LOT of wiggle room to experiment with price when the incumbents are running 70% profit margins.

>Your entire rant completely forgets that Apple runs, on average ~70% profit margin ($700 phone costs about $200 to make).

I doubt he forgets it, because it's not true. The 70% difference between retail price and cost to stamp a device at a factory is not "profit margin", because there are further costs, before and after manufacturing, such R&D, organizational and business costs. You can bet Apple is spending more on R&D than almost anyone else, so there is likely no wiggle room at all for anyone to compete on innovation, unless they aim for some niche market.

>You can bet Apple is spending more on R&D than almost anyone else, so there is likely no wiggle room at all for anyone to compete on innovation, unless they aim for some niche market.

Actually, Apple spends comparatively less on R&D than any of its competitors. It's increased recently, but for many years - especially in the late Jobs years - people were scratching their heads at how comparatively little they spent on it.


Apple does spend comparatively little on R&D (perhaps part of that is because they don't produce 400 different models of every darn device), but their margins on iPhones are still nowhere near 70%.

I was just speaking specifically the notion that Apple's margins as a company are eaten up by R&D spend which we agree they're clearly not. (The fact that they're doing multi-billion dollar stock buybacks and issuing increasing dividends show they have more money than they know what to do with).

Although since you brought it up, I did a quick search and found that the margins on the iPhone as an individual product (vs. the company's overall margin) are speculated to be near 70% and that figure isn't just pulled out of thin air:


Because all the companies producing the several parts involved did absolutely no r&d and they got information on how to produce all those batteries, cpus, glass, radios, sensors, etc from aliens.

Every company does r&d and manage just fine with non obscene profits on each product. Apple and Samsung create artificial scarcity with lawsuits. They probably spend more on legal than r&d.

It is true. Apple has a 70% profit margin on sales that they reinvest.

Just because revenue is reinvested doesn't mean it isn't revenue or a margin.

And, seeing as Apple has >$100,000,000,000 of cash and near cash, your "reinvestment" line is a total fantasy. Apple is printing cash with a massive profit margin, and reinvesting a tiny tiny tiny fraction of that money back into their business.

>> Just because revenue is reinvested doesn't mean it isn't revenue or a margin.

Your sentence is a little confusing, because calling something revenue means it is revenue. And while related, revenue is not the same as margin.

And please note that the bill of materials for a phone is only a part of the cost of goods sold, which as mentioned by others, also includes manufacturing, assembly, marketing, r&d and other costs. Those costs are generally not considered to be "reinvestment".

I used to track AAPL when I was interning at a financial services firm last summer, and I can assure you that their profit margin is around 20%. Since AAPL is publicly traded, this information is publicly available so anyone can verify it. I'm not sure where you get the idea that their profit margin is 70%.

According to Yahoo Finance (which is a pretty good resource for non-professionals), the profit margin is currently 21%.


You guys are talking about different things. He's talking about unit margin on each phone. You're talking about overall profits.

Well, the GP is talking about Apple's overall margins and the 70% figure is simply wrong. (Retail price - cost of goods is not margin.)

How could those two things be different? Profit per unit = total profit / number of units

Unit margin is the marginal profit for selling one more unit. It doesn't include the (large) fixed costs of, for example, your personnel or your office real estate costs or R&D or legal. It's basically the bill of materials for your item plus the costs for transporting the item from where you made it/bought it to where you hand it off to the customer, any taxes on that particular item (like import duties), etc.

Unit margin is an important number to account for and work to maximize, basically because you assume that as the number of units you sell increase, your fixed costs become less and less relevant to your overall company profit. But unit margin is always higher than overall company profit margin.

EDIT: Also, obviously, unit margin varies by sku. The iPhone 5s and the iPad Air are probably the highest-margin items that Apple sells (some of their Macs may compete). Things like iPods and iPhone 5cs are likely lower-margin.

Thanks for the clarification. I had actually never heard of this concept of ``unit margin,'' but it makes sense now. It's funny that I managed to go through an entire internship at a financial services firm (which included working with valuation models of AAPL) without ever encountering this concept. I guess it's no surprise that I didn't get offered a job at the end of the internship!

> Oneplus One, or Oppo for short

I'm quite certain they are separate companies, at least legally.

The company is OnePlus, One is their first phone's name.

Correct. Oppo is a different company, with a similar phone.

Which it turns out is owned by Oppo.


>This always feels like a warning sign to me, indicative of a low emphasis on R&D.

Why is that necessarily a bad thing? Vizio, for example, has great success at selling LCD TVs, because it relies on Samsung and Sony to pave the way with R&D, and then it imitates their innovations a few years later and comes out with a lower priced product that's just as good. One+One can be the Vizio of smartphones - delivering current-gen features at low prices, and waiting for Samsung/Motorola/HTC/whoever else to pave the way (and earn profits for a few years) before coming out with a generic version that sells for much less.

Currently, the market is split between high-end very expensive devices (Galaxy S, iPhone, HTC One) which incorporate new features with every iteration, and crappy underpowered handsets which, frankly, suck. I think there's definitely room for a handset that doesn't necessarily innovate, but delivers a solid current (or even previous) generation user experience at a low price.

What about the Google Nexus line? They're neither very expensive devices nor crappy and underpowered. The entire Nexus line has proven that there's a demand for decent hardware at a non top-end price out there. It's especially important when it comes to being "allowed" to flash whatever ROM you like or unlock your bootloader, plus the pure AOSP experience means that updates aren't delayed by vendors or carriers.

For sure, Samsung are providing top-end Android devices, but the Nexus 5 is competitive with all the Galaxy S type handsets currently out there, plus the iPhone 5/5S too, and at a fraction of the price.

I agree that the Nexus line serves this niche. However, I do think there's still space for one more entrant in this market. Plus, the fact that Google is increasingly closing off bits and pieces of core Android behind Google Play services means that there's a sub-niche out there for a phone that's truly open. I'm not sure if it'll be enough to carry this device to profitability, but I'm certainly hoping that it will be. I was planning on upgrading my Nexus 4 to a Nexus 5 this year, but after looking at the specs and software on the OnePlus One, I'm probably going to hold out for one of these. The site says they're supposed to come out in Q2, so I shouldn't even have to hold out that long.

Oppo and OnePlus are actually not the same company.

Curious though that the OnePlus One could be abbreviated as OPO. I wonder if that's an intentional dig (or nod?) at Oppo, considering that the founder is ex-Oppo.

BBK is the main investor for Oppo, Vivo, and Oneplus.

I think you are underestimating the value of a platform you can "sort of" trust. Not saying that this is the one, but seems like a step in that direction. Personally, I'm not interested at all in getting the newest from Samsung, Apple, etc. Having to use the phone as a completely untrusted device negates most of its features.

>You can't just go out and beat all that at once, and offer the same product but cheaper.

I think they just did. LG and Samsung have been doing remarkably well off with off the shelf components and I think this entire comment undervalues the cost of distribution and marketing that gets rolled into the cost of the phone.

Hasn't it always been apple's defense that most end users don't care about specs. So I find most of this comment inconclusive at best.

> Personally I'll be using my second-hand Samsung Note 2 for the time being

You may not be their target market.

In the features section where they compare their camera vs. that of another smartphone, they're doing some shady stuff.

The two pictures are identical! They've photoshopped the original to look shittier, and passed it off as being taken by another smartphone.

link: http://imgur.com/VG8AUg3

It's not photoshopped, it's just cropped to show you their wide angle vs a typical camera. Quoting the website, directly beside the picture you've linked: "The extra-wide 80º viewing angle captures more area than other phones so your pictures will include more background without distortion. "

Um, the point isn't about photo quality in the comparison. I have to agree that it's confusing, but actually they're trying to highlight the fact that their phone has a wider viewing angle. (If you look, their picture includes more people.)

Looks great, but when oh when oh when will there be a version with a hardware keyboard? I program on my smart phone. I can do that damn fast with a hardware keyboard. Touchscreen keyboards aren't feasible.

What language are you programming in on your smart phone? Just curious.

What about using a bluetooth keyboard?

Too clumsy, too big, battery, blah. I want to whip it out of my pocket on the subway...

What phone are you using currently?

Relay 4G

Samsung Galaxy S Relay? That seemed to be it from googling but 'relay 4g phone' wasn't as definitive as I'd've liked.

When someone revokes RIM's stupid hardware keyboard patent or it expires.

Come on, that's not fair. Absolutely nothing prevents someone from building a keyboard phone. OEM's are free to build any hardware keyboard they want, so long as it isn't a direct cut-and-paste copy of RIM's.

No one forced Typo to copy the exact RIM keyboard.

There's plenty of precedent here :




Can't wait for the QWERTY version :)

I just bought a used LG g2 to escape the disaster that is the Droid 4, but I would happily spend another 3-400 on a phone with a physical keyboard. On screen keyboards, like gel-cap keyboards, work well enough, but I would love a premium option.

No SD card? I'm out.

If they added that, I would get one, the price is amazing - although I'd flash a default CM image over it to get rid of that metro theme they've added.

My must have these days is wireless charging (Qi). It is so convenient being able to just place the device down and have charging immediately happen. Also fantastic for use in the car cradles so you don't have to connect power each time.

Also, usb power can eventually stop working/work intermittently. But for most devices, you can add it after.

I recently switched from a phone with a sd card slot to one without. I miss the cheap extra storage, but having 'only' 64 gigs of storage hasn't hurt me yet. Is there a particular use case that an SD card allows and large built-in storage doesn't? Would internal storage of 128gb be enough?

>having 'only' 64 gigs of storage hasn't hurt me yet

If I only have 64GB (plus OS overhead, plus normal data, plus Android likes to report as being out of space when there is still some left), then once I put my music on, I'm almost out, not ideal when I want a few large apps, to download a large file temporarily, etc...

The 64 GB version seems like plenty of space. If you need to transfer data and you don't like wifi, you can get a USB OTG cable and a USB microSD card reader for $10.

Seems to be a good device, but if there is no wireless charging I am out. It is one of those things that once you have you cannot go back. But the price point, the implicit promise of updates forever from CM team, and the fact that Google is moving to closed-source with key apps that used to be OS, does make this a very attractive phone. I hope there will be OnePlus Two.

> but if there is no wireless charging I am out.

Pretty much. It seems like it's such a trivial feature that it shouldn't matter, but dear god it is convenient. Can never go back after 1 year with the palm pre a few years ago.

This reminds me of the galaxy s1 and s2. Its pretty damn competitive, and its half the price of the others.

I bought the s2 for 400 on release day and it was awesome enough. Nowadays the s5 is 6-700 on release day.

if they deliver what they show - im probably getting one of these oneplus - not a S5 or even an xperia Z2 - thanks but no thanks.

> will receive updates for at least 2 years

I had my phone for over 3 years now and aside from some tiny screen scratches everything is great. Why can't any manufacturers really stand behind their products and support them for something like 5 years?


Even google with all the money and more interest in acquiring users joined the greed bandwagon by removing Sd card slots and doing things in software to ensure device obsolency ever couple years.

Google's removal of SD card has nothing to do with making device useless ever few years. It has everything to do with their cloud strategy. Google wants everything in the cloud. If your information is in the cloud, they can possible get access to it to better understand you so they can target more relevant ads. If your information is on the cloud, you will also have to spend more time online. That's why google devices, phones, tablet, chromebooks don't have removeable storage.

I would never buy a new phone unless it has an SD slot or perhaps 64GB of storage. How useful is the cloud when you're literally above a cloud in a plane? That's mostly when I use my phone for music playback.

You can use Google Music. It will cache content while on wifi for playback when you have no connectivity. This is done somewhat intelligently and you can also explicitly request content be downloaded.

with a ttl to delete it if you dont connect soon

yeah, because everyone can install all those new games in ...cue music... the cloud.

if a side effect of their greed for your data or not, you cant deny you will need an upgrade every year or so to keep up with app sizes.

heck i cant install firefox on the first three nexus had i not hacked the kernel to allow apps on sd.

I haven't seen this mentioned, but evidently the reason there is no Micro SD slot is to prevent a split in memory options and the confusion that comes with it.

See: http://www.androidcentral.com/why-nexus-devices-have-no-sd-c...

Though, I suppose they could develop some sort of solution that manages the split for the user so you can expand the memory and never worry about what it saved where...

All that said, I definitely prefer large internal memory over having an expandable memory slot... If I'm forced to make the choice.

even phones without sd card still have to have the Sdcard dir nowadays. there is no going back.

Moore's law. You can get a twice as powerful device in two years time. Also, who knows what the smartphone world will look like in two years time.

Reverse the question: Why don't manufacturer only support it for 6 months, or until the next phone comes out? What is preventing that from doing that?

iPhone 4 is still getting updates after nearly 4 years.

True, but each of those updates generally makes the phone less usable from a performance perspective. My iPhone 4 is barely usable with the latest iOS update.

iOS7 in particular was a troublesome upgrade for me. It had issues with my 4's (and my wife's 4S) proximity detector. I would end up face dialing in the middle of a call. And that's just one of many annoyances that came with upgrading to iOS7. I would have been happier if Apple cut off updates after two years.

Compare that experience to my Moto G (that replaced my 4), and each of the updates I've gotten (albeit in a short period of time) have had real performance improvements, unlike the mostly cosmetic animation "speed improvements" that came with the last iOS 7 update for iPhone 4.

My wife had the opposite experience with her 4. iOS 7 was quite a bit faster, particularly with regard to the camera startup.

For the iPhone 5, iOS5 camera startup was pretty good. IOS6 was really bad. IOS7 was a bit better than 6 but compared to 5, still quite bad.


I wonder how much of an effect "I guess I might as well get a new phone" has on things?

Especially given most fixes require a significant portion of the cost of the phone to perform.

Great specs, but I prefer the Moto G model. Other than its camera, everything is superb for a pro-user who doesn't play games. Battery life is great, screen is awesome, 1GB RAM is more than sufficient. Best of all, it's the price that I love.

Very nice, better hardware than Google Nexus 5 [1] at better price, though larger, slightly thicker and heavier.


The price is actually higher than some of the cheap smartphones from Asia. What interested me is that CyanogenMod is now an OS of a 'killer' smartphone.

I have used cm before and would trust them enough to buy a product like this. But the phone is too big though. My 4" moto g is perfect.

arrrrr.... I wanna get one, so I just lookup their site, but it says I need to get invitation to buy because their limited stock. http://support.oneplus.net/hc/en-us/articles/201866890-Why-d...

the video on the homepage is pretty bad. I dont want to look at some guy making sketches of the design, i want to see the phone. Also, isnt software a big sell for this Cynagen? I've never installed the Mod before -- can the video show me how the insides of the phone are supposed to look like? pretty please?

Seems really odd using "Never Settle" given how much AMD has been pushing that slogan for their GPUs.

Why would anyone choose the on-screen keys if you've already sacrificed the space for dedicated keys?

What's up with the mailing list. I am very excited about this phone, would like the email updates.

I think the website is down. Is it available to buy? Can it be shipped to europe?

It is only available on invitation IIRC. I don't know when you we can expect this phone in stores, like physical stores. Those invitations were given out on the forums and to people who where interested/had interest in the Nexus 5.

No physical stores, no resellers. They say it's too expensive.

Can you recommend a low-cost voice/data carrier in the US for this phone?


Near the bottom there's a $30/month plan with 5gb LTE data, unlimited text, and 100 voice minutes.

Are OnePlus offering any guarantee of OS updates with their products?

What is the availability of OnePlus One for non-US users?

Does it have unlocked bootloader and root?

Latest I've read is that the bootloader will be locked and phone won't be rooted out of the box. However bootloader will easily be unlockable and rooting the phone is supported and won't affect warranties.

this is the approach that google takes with the nexus devices and is really the only reasonably secure approach (for the consumer)

Woah, are you saying that you can root a google nexus phone without voiding the warranty? I assumed you weren't allowed to do that, would be great if you can.

Yeah, you can. And at least on the newer Nexus phones, you can even re-lock them without any trace of it ever being unlocked.

yup. you just reflash the stock rom, then relock the bootloader, and it's like new

It's my impression you might get a warranty claim denied on a Nexus device if your problem is software-related and you have modified software on the phone that could be at fault. I had some instability and camera trouble due to a custom kernel, for example.

The Nexus 5 bootloader unlock confirmation screen says it may void the warranty. From what I've heard, LG/Google never gives people trouble about root when there's a hardware problem.

The catch is that the device gets wiped during the unlock, so someone can't disable a PIN-lock by going through the back door and access sensitive data.

What carriers is it incompatible with?

Does it have an appstore ?

Other than Google Play Store, you can use FDroid. Firefox Marketplace also provides Apps: the offer is very tiny at the moment, but will likely grow in near future.

https://f-droid.org/ https://marketplace.firefox.com/

You can also get the Amazon app store. http://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get/android

Other than Google Play? Because it will have Google Play.

Yes, Google Play store.

Is any tablet that can makes calls a phone? Technically yes I guess, but it's still weird to call it that.

Amusing to view that link right after reading the "Sell me this pen" link http://m.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/internationa...

The CyanogenMod page tells me nothing. "Killer phone"? meh. Address my needs; if it's not smaller than an iPhone and can migrate me from that ecosystem, forget it. Otherwise, it's just a list of specs.

Forgive me for being slightly snobby (and maybe too tangential), but I always find it completely off-putting when people try to be "hip" and put the $ sign after a number (as in 1$ here; they're also internally inconsistent).

I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on the matter, especially if you think I'm misinterpreting the motivation behind it.


edit: Muphry's Law, and trying hard not to ask why people are downvoting my curiosity (but failing)

> I'd like to hear other peoples' thoughts on the matter, especially if you think I'm misinterpreting the motivation behind it.

Author is from a culture where the currency symbol goes after the sum, does not realise it's before in the US. Internal inconsistency likely linked to multiple authors and lack of review.

Since when is putting the currency sign in the "wrong" place "hip"? Why would you assume such a thing instead of a honest mistake? You even linked to a page stating:

> many [non-anglo non-latin-american cultures] place [the currency sign] after the amount

(note that contrary to this article's exact wording, this is cultural rather than currency-based, within the EU some countries put the € symbol before the amount, others after: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_issues_concerning_th... — and this is not solely linked to english-speaking, Austria uses prefix where Germany uses postfix; Denmark and Latvia use prefix, ...)

I have a friend who thinks it's "younger" to put it afterwards, and I figured the designers of this site might be from the same generation, as are a few (younger) HNers. I did read the page I linked, that's why I linked it.

I've made this mistake quite a few times coming from Hebrew, where the currency symbol (₪) is written after the number (it is to the left, but the direction of writing is right-to-left). It is possible that the people who wrote this are used to putting the currency symbol after the number, and especially since it's inconsistent it is probably a mistake.

I think it's far more likely that the author is from a place which puts the currency symbol after the number and simply made a mistake. I've never seen or heard of anybody intentionally doing it incorrectly for effect.

> internally inconsistent

You mean, "internally consistent"? As in "How much is it?" "One dollar." -> "1$". That's how the (spoken) language works.

No, I mean internally inconsistent. I had to point out that I meant it in the case of the button that said "1$" but not the rest of the website, where it said "$299" or whatever. Site down.

Pretty sure the intention here was to say that the author uses "$1" in some places and "1$" in others. I'd verify this, but I can't get to the site.

They're downvoting you because it has nothing to do with "hipness", it's just the way it's done in some cultures.

Thanks for using words. I am happy to know something I didn't know yesterday... I just don't know why instead of getting answers to the question I asked ("Is my perception of the motive incorrect?"), I got downvotes. Especially when my comment about knowing someone personally who does it for "hipness" got an equal number of downvotes. Anecdotes are not suitable data for proving conclusions, but I would think they are suitable for disproving generalities.

I apologize for complaining about downvotes - I'm just very surprised and disappointed that some innocent curiosity is getting such a vehemently arrogant reception.

You should've started off with the hedging or formed your hypothesis as a question if you were unsure. People aren't going to read past the presumptuous claim to see if you walked it back - they're just going to hit the downvote button.

Also, I don't appreciate your thanking me as a way of passive-aggressively casting judgment on other downvoters. Nobody owes it to you to explain their downvote. I get that it was unexpected and kind of dismaying, but that doesn't mean drive-by downvoting was the wrong thing to do here.

Thanks for the feedback. Still coping with the last sentence, but I appreciate that you took the time to reply.

Usually done by people who are not from a country where the currency symbol is after the sum.

Is there a country where it is usual to put the percent sign before the number? I sometimes see things like "%100 performance increase" on English web sites, and I wonder where that comes from.

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact