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O2 first carrier to offer a Cyanogen OS-powered phone to customers

The BQ Aquaris X5 is the first Cyanogen OS-powered phone to make it onto the books of a UK carrier and potentially into the hands of consumers.

Whilst we spend most of our time talking about Android and iOS, there are in fact a lot of different mobile operating systems out there, and as is the case of Cyanogen OS, variations on a theme as well.

Carriers typically favour the handsets that have a higher probability of making sales and that comes down in part to reputation. People have heard of the iPhone and heard of Android along with the devices that run Google’s mobile operating system from the likes of Samsung, LG, HTC and so on. Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has also appeared on a few carrier-exclusive handsets too, but Cyanogen is a different kind of beast.

Just as Amazon took Android, pulled it apart and put it back together again as Fire OS (found on the likes ill-fated Fire Phone), so too has the Cyanogen team. The most well known product from the outfit is CyanogenMod – an open-source alternative operating system that uses Android as its foundation, but one that accommodates a significantly highly level of customisation and control over the experience.

BQ Aquaris X5

Cyanogen OS is the more consumer-friendly version of that same product (forgoing its root access and superuser privileges), which we first encountered on last year’s OnePlus One (before it was replaced by the company’s own Oxygen OS) and Wileyfox’s debut smartphones; the Swift and the Storm, which launched earlier this year.

The operating system’s biggest draws over the stock Android experience are its enhanced security setup by way of the integrated Privacy Guard application and the Truecaller dialler, which integrates a user-created directory of spam numbers to help keep your phone line clear of bogus/scam calls.

On the hardware side, Spanish smartphone maker BQ’s handsets typically run Android, but can also can be found packing Ubuntu’s mobile experience and now, on the flagship Aquaris X5, Cyanogen OS.

At a glance

Size 144.4mm x 70.5mm x 7.5mm
Weight 148 grams
Screen size 5-inches
Screen resolution 720p HD (720×1280)
Processor 1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 412
Memory 2GB
Storage 16GB
Battery 2900mAh
Cameras 13-megapixel (rear), 5-megapixel (front)
OS Cyanogen 12.1

The version O2 is planning to stock from the start of December will be available on the carrier’s O2 Refresh scheme, with plans starting at £19.50 a month (plus a £9.99 upfront cost) for 500 minutes and 500 megabytes of 4G data along with unlimited texts.

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