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OnePlus announced its first flagship smartphone on Wednesday morning. Confusingly named the One — not to be mistaken for HTC’s One or the Xbox One — the handset is the first mass-market Android(S GOOG) phone to ship with CyanogenMod preinstalled and will retail for $299 when it goes on sale in May.
OnePlus is the hardware company founded by former Oppo executive Pete Lau. Shortly before Lau resigned, Oppo released a limited edition handset with CyanogenMod preinstalled. It’s not surprising his new company has decided to continue with CyanogenMod as its primary version of Android. CyanogenMod is a open-source operating system based on Android that started as a community-driven project but is now a fully-fledged startup with $9 million in funding.
The OnePlus One packs in a lot of great components: Snapdragon 801 quad-core CPU, 3 GB of RAM and a 5.5-inch 1080p display. The camera is made by Sony(S SNE), clocks in at 13MP and should be able to record 4k video. The specs are very competitive with other high-end handsets, especially for the sub-$300 price. There are no deals with carriers at the moment, but all signals from the Chinese company indicate that is by design: this handset is meant to be sold unlocked.
Unlike other handsets from China, the OnePlus One will come with Google Apps pre-installed. That means users can access the Google Play app store out of the box, like mainstream Android smartphones from Samsung and HTC.
The OnePlus One will launch in May in sixteen countries, including the United States. If you’d like one the day it launches, you’ll need an invite.