OnePlus launches its forked version of Android Lollipop in alpha

And you can download it right now

The first alpha edition of OnePlus' new Android fork has appeared in the wild as the handset maker looks to move on from its spat with Cyanogen, a falling out that has caused problems with sales of the OnePlus One in India.

Cyanogen recently signed an exclusive deal in that country with Micromax, an agreement that leaves the future of the OnePlus One uncertain — Micromax has attempted to get the smartphone banned in India, a situation that still hasn't been resolved.

As a result, OnePlus has got its own team of software developers together, and the first fruits of their endeavours have now appeared. The experimental ROM isn't yet ready for release but adventurous users can give it a whirl if they wish.

Customisable yet bloat-free

At this stage the forked ROM very closely resembles the edition of Lollipop released by the Android Open Source Project. OnePlus is promising to "deliver an experience that is customisable yet bloat-free, with stock-Android-like simplicity by default".

Anyone who wants to take their handset's life in their hands and test out the software is advised to use the TWRP recovery app to flash their phone, then install the GApps package alongside the new Android fork. An official OTA-ready release is expected around February time.

Right now it's not clear how much longer OnePlus handsets will use Cyanogen's MOD, at least outside of India, but this new OnePlus-flavoured version of Android looks like being the long-term future for the manufacturer.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.