Cyanogen OS-Powered ZUK Z1 To Arrive Mid-October

ZUK, a new mobile and IoT-focused startup backed by Lenovo, announced that it will launch the international version of the ZUK Z1 with Cyanogen OS 12.1 on board.

This could be another significant win for Cyanogen if ZUK becomes a popular smartphone company, after its commercial version of CyanogenMod became a success with the OnePlus One, and after the company signed an important partnership with Micromax in India.

Cyanogen has already announced that it can now be seen as the third largest platform with over 50 million installs, which is more users than both Windows Phone and BlackBerry have combined, according to the company.

Although Cyanogen OS-based phones can still be considered regular Android phones right now, the company might have plans to one day separate itself from Google's apps. If nothing else, Cyanogen may have just wanted to put in perspective its 50+ million users number, to give its fans a better idea of how successful its operating system has already become.

The ZUK Z1 recently launched in China with its own "ZUI" customized interface on top of Android 5.1.1. The phone came with a Snapdragon 801 processor, 64 GB of storage, 4,100 mAh battery, and a USB 3.0 Type-C port. It also came with a mid-range price of only RMB 1799 (~$281), which is quite a good deal on paper, considering all of its hardware specifications.

Other features include a Full HD 5.5" screen, 3 GB of RAM, a fingerprint sensor, a 13MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and optical image stabilization (OIS) and a fast 0.3 second auto-focus, and an 8MP front camera optimized for clear selfies. The phone even has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and LTE support. It's also a dual-SIM device.

It's unclear how much of a role Lenovo played in the decision to pick Cyanogen OS for the international version of ZUK's Z1 device, but Lenovo has also moved to making more stock-like Android devices recently, realizing it's a better strategy for the western/international market. Eventually, it may even push the same experience at home, in China.

However, it remains to be seen whether it will stick to using Cyanogen OS for all of its devices, or whether it will use the more Google-like and simpler experience that Motorola provides in some markets with the more advanced and privacy-oriented experience that Cyanogen OS provides in others.

The Cyanogen OS-powered ZUK Z1 is expected to arrive mid-October, this year.

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • gangrel
    It will be interesting to see how their choices get influenced by the security issues with Android, but separating too far would mean you lose the Android apps market.
  • 3r0s4nn1n
    The processor in this smartphone is going to be a Snapdragon 810 and not an 801.
  • gangrel
    Figured the 801 was a typo. The 801 is very dated now.
  • sirstinky
    You would pay $600 for this phone if it were made by Samsung...