Chinese company ZUK is working on a new feature-packed smartphone that will be powered by Cyanogen OS, a modified version of Android. The ZUK Z1 will be unveiled in the second half of 2015, and the project has received backing from some major industry players.
Both Lenovo and Qihoo 360 (a large Chinese software company) are backing the ZUK Z1. Qihoo 360 invested $409 million (approximately €360m/£260m), so the new venture will have considerable resources and support behind it.
This story may sound a little familiar, as in 2014 a Chinese start-up launched the OnePlus One – a Cyanogen OS smartphone with very good specs.
It was later revealed the OnePlus was financially backed by the large Chinese electronics manufacturer OPPO. ZUK, however, has been eager to stress its links with established companies from the outset.
Since the launch of the OnePlus One, relations between Cyanogen and the Chinese manufacturer have broken down. OnePlus has gone on to develop its own platform, OxygenOS, which is currently based on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop.
Despite the relative inexperience of OnePlus, the company has not merely focussed on emerging markets and has distributed its smartphone globally. ZUK has indicated that it is looking to do the same, but at this very early stage the insurgent operation is likely to be a long way from formulating a global distribution plan.
But with OnePlus now focusing on their own in-house Android fork – ahead of the launch of the OnePlus Two – there is a clear gap in the global market for a Cyanogen OS-powered smartphone.
Initial indications are that the ZUK Z1 will compete with the features of current flagship Android smartphones, with the new device set to include a fingerprint scanner.