OnePlus One Release Delayed Over Security Concerns

oneplus one
The OnePlus One impressed many with its powerful specifications at low price points, but the new manufacturer says it will have to delay its "invite only" phone's release indefinitely. OnePlus

Android smartphone enthusiasts who've eagerly awaited the release of the OnePlus One will have to wait even longer for the smartphone as its Chinese company said on Wednesday that it needs to address security issues before the debut. OnePlus says the One will not ship to customers until a number of concerns are reviewed and fixed.

“We can’t yet confirm the exact date that the phone will ship,” OnePlus said in a letter to customers. “We can assure you we’ll keep you well updated on the progress and will get the phones to you as soon as we possibly can.”

Update: The company told TechRadar that the OnePlus One would begin to "ship to early users with invites as early as" Thursday.

OnePlus did not respond to a request for comment on how long it expected to delay the release of the One, the company's first smartphone. It said in its initial announcement that the One would run on Cyanogen, a popular alternative to Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) standard, or “stock,” version of Android. One Cyanogen employee took to the popular user-submission community Reddit to explain that the delay was due to a number of security issues with OpenSSL, the open-source security platform.

An issue with OpenSSL that came to be known as the Heartbleed bug was discovered in April and had the tech industry scurrying to patch the security vulnerabilities it created in a number of programs and devices. On June 5, several new vulnerabilities with the standard came to light, which Cyanogen said is causing the delay.

Not everyone is convinced OnePlus is telling the whole story on why the One release has been delayed. Some Reddit users, or Redditors, said they suspect OnePlus of using the security flaw as an excuse to cover for manufacturing problems.

Redditor Xert wrote that if OnePlus' hardware division "was on track to hit their stated ship dates, then delaying over something like this simply wouldn't be an option ... But of course they aren't. Which means that there were other factors helping to motivate their decision to wait on the fix. Like the rest of their operation not actually ready to meet their ship dates."

Other users thought that the software issues were more than enough to warrant the delay.

"This isn't some bug fix for a camera, or slight battery life improvements we're talking about ... this is known SSL vulnerabilities. The shipment is being delayed to better protect end users," wrote Trunicated.

The OnePlus One, often dubbed the “Nexus killer” for having a comparable price but more powerful hardware than Google’s Nexus 5 smartphone and a larger (5.5-inch) display. Whereas the 4.95-inch Nexus 5 contains the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, the OnePlus One features the more powerful 801, along with 3GB of RAM compared with the Nexus’ 2GB. The OnePlus One is sold with 16GB ($299) or 64GB ($349) of internal storage, whereas Google currently ships the Nexus 5 with either 16GB ($349) or 32GB ($399) of flash memory.

Many Android smartphone enthusiasts have long awaited the release of the OnePlus One because of its low cost compared with flagship devices from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KRX:005930) and HTC Corp. (TPE:2498). OnePlus said it would initially only sell its debut smartphone by invitation, and it held a contest asking potential customers how they would destroy their current device if it meant getting a free One. A number of people misunderstood the promotion and prematurely destroyed their devices without being chosen by OnePlus.

The company has also been criticized for presenting itself as wholly separate from Chinese manufacturer Oppo, where OnePlus founder Pete Lau was previously employed as vice president. Reports have noted that the company’s official website was registered by Oppo, and documents filed by China’s Shenzhen Municipal Market Supervisory Authority say that OnePlus is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chinese phonemaker.

OnePlus said at the time that it understood the “confusion” regarding its relationship with Oppo but insisted it was a separate entity. “OnePlus ... does share common investors with OPPO. One of those investors is OPPO Electronic. OPPO Electronic is an investment company and is not the same as OPPO Mobile. OnePlus is also in talks with other investors.”

This story was updated to include OnePlus' comments and those from Reddit users.

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