steve kondik cyanogenmod pete lau

CM’s Steve Kondik and Koushik Dutta, together with Pete Lau

The mystery CyanogenMod phone plot thickens. A senior executive has just left Oppo, possibly to start a new brand of smartphones running Steve Kondik’s popular custom ROM.

Last week, we heard that Cyanogen Inc. is working with an unspecified partner to release a powerful, yet affordable device that would run CyanogenMod right out of the box. The mystery smartphone is not the CM-running variant of the Oppo N1, but a completely new product. According to two different sources, the phone will be powered by a mighty Snapdragon 800 8974AC processor, clocked at 2.5GHz, and will be priced to compete with the Nexus 5.

Vice president for engineering Pete Lau, a longtime Oppo employee, announced today that he left the company. In a Google Plus post, Lau thanked his former teammates and praised Oppo’s products, but offered no details on the reasons behind his sudden departure.

According to Engadget’s Richard Lai, Lau may be leaving Oppo to start a “new online brand from scratch”, with the first device set to feature high-end specifications and run CyanogenMod out of the box. Lai also speculates that Pete Lau may actually leave Oppo to run a spinoff from the company, much like Oppo was originally established as a subsidiary of BBK Electronics.

a phone that would fuse truly amazing software with the highest quality hardware available

Some comments on social media from Kondik, Lau, and an Oppo exec seem to support Lai’s theory. Kondik posted that, together with Lau, he discussed a “vision for a phone that would fuse truly amazing software with the highest quality hardware available.” “Together, we’re setting out to create that product. Stay tuned”, the dev continued. Lau commented on Weibo that, together with Kondik, he is “plotting on something that may change the world of Android,” and that there’s a “perfect Android flagship device” in the works”. Finally, Oppo’s Director for New Markets Carl Pei commented that “what’s coming next is definitely worth paying attention and looking forward to. :)”. Pei’s teasing seems to suggest that Oppo is at least aware of Lau’s plans with CyanogenMod.

Regardless of what’s going on, a recent report from China suggests that the “world-changing” product from Cyanogen and its partner may be announced as soon as December. Stay tuned.

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