OPPO is slowly becoming a brand to reckon with, not only in Kenya but worldwide. According to IDC, OPPO has a market share of 7.5%, coming in as the number four smartphone brand in the world. Well, we’re not here to discuss the successes of the company but rather to discuss a device that hit major headlines as not only the world’s first rotating camera phone but also the world’s first Cyanogen Mod phone.
In October 2013, OPPO released the N1. A device that came with a huge 5.9-inch Full HD display, 2GB RAM, Snapdragon 600, a 3610mAh battery, the choice of either 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, one 13MP camera that could rotate to become the selfie camera and interestingly the choice of either Color OS running on top of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or Cyanogen MOD 10.2 based on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean as the operating system.
The rotating camera on the OPPO N1 was the first of its kind. The company had managed to create a device that had an actual moving part. The camera on the N1 featured a 206-degree rotation, allowing users to use the same camera module for both normal pictures and selfies as well. The rotating camera could actually safely lock at any angle, thus one could actually take really creative shots that could not be done with any other phone.
The camera module itself was a 13MP shooter that had six physical lenses that supposedly eliminated any distortion. The camera also included OPPO’s Pure Image technology, that delivered “breathtaking and vividly realistic images.” Pure Image technology is what actually matured to include the 50MP UltraHD mode on the newer OPPO smartphones.
Cyanogen Mod vs Color OS
Newer OPPO smartphones are heavily inspired by iPhones, let’s not try ignoring that fact. Put an OPPO next to an iPhone and you can hardly tell which is which, This imitation has been seen even in the operating system where OPPO’s Color OS looks 99.9% like iOS – it would be true to describe Color OS as iOS based on Android.
So when the company released a device running on Cyanogen Mod out of the box, of course, geeks all the world were running after the device. For those who don’t know, Cyanogen Mod was an operating system based on stock android that added the ability for the user to customize almost everything on the OS. The option to choose either Cyanogen Mod or Color OS was a great selling point for the device, especially in the western markets where Android lovers dread any form of skin on top of pure android.
Back then, ColorOS was not an iOS clone but it was not as good as Cyanogen Mod had become. The OPPO N1 will forever be remembered as the world’s first official Cyanogen Mod smartphone.
OPPO really was innovative back then. The N1 had a section of its back that was touch sensitive, dubbed the O-Touch panel. The O-Touch panel allowed users to scroll, tap, or snap photos with simple gestures.
Before the N1, there was no other phone like it, it was different, it was unique, it had an identity. Right now, OPPO smartphones are simply “iPhones” running Android, we no longer see rotating cameras and/or touch sensitive back panels – to good ol’ days.