I caught the end of the livestreamed OnePlus 5T launch event yesterday, and for me the best thing about it had nothing to do with the phone itself. What set my geek heart all aflutter was when OnePlus co-founder (and Steve Jobs wannabe) Carl Pei took to the stage to announce that all ticket sales from the event were being donated to F-Droid, the open source app store for Android.
Tickets for the launch were priced at $40 USD but it’s not clear how many tickets were actually sold, as there were a lot of tech bloggers and YouTubers there who I’m guessing didn’t pay. But honestly, it doesn’t even matter; at the very least the project got some free press. Here, as a reminder, is but a sample of what F-Droid has to offer:
AdAway – kill ads system-wide on your rooted phone or tablet;
K-9 Mail – an excellent IMAP mail client;
NewPipe – watch YouTube videos with no pre-roll ads;
OS Monitor – find spyware on your Android device.
FOSS software and the Android modding community are equally important to OnePlus. You’ll recall that 2013’s OnePlus One shipped with the first commercial version of CyanogenMod; the latter ended up going nowhere but the former is thriving, thanks in this part of the world to its sizable geek cred. Most of the Linux podcasters I listen to own a OnePlus device, and these people are unabashed freedom beards who would never even go near a Galaxy or Pixel.
As a company OnePlus is certainly guilty of sometimes lazy, sometimes shady practices, but they do serve their community well. And it’s great to see them giving back, even if it’s ultimately a token gesture.