There is no denying that OnePlus makes some revolutionary devices, which are not only high end, but are wallet friendly. The Chinese OEM also owes its success to the custom Android firmware, which the devices come with, OxygenOS.
Rewind to 2 years ago, and you will remember how OnePlus had a falling out with Cyanogen Inc, with the latter controversially signing an exclusivity deal with Micromax, to make Cyanogenmod ROMs for the YU line up of devices.
This eventually led to OnePlus developing its own firmware, named OxygenOS, which debuted on the OnePlus 2, and later devices, such as the OnePlus X and the current flagship OnePlus 3. OxygenOS is very stockish, and is devoid of bloatware, and offers a great experience for the user. If I had to nitpick, I’d say that it still has minor flaws, like the lack of the volume control panel which on other devices, pops-up when you press the volume down or volume up keys.
Now, Chinese users however have a different firmware called HydrogenOS, which features non-Google software (No Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps, etc) because the search giant is banned in OnePlus’ homeground. Now, even though OxygenOS and HydrogenOS are similar, they do have their differences, beyond the software of course, this includes baseband support for China and the Rest of the World, and more internal changes, including security patches.
Naturally, maintaining two lines of firmware, is not an easy task. This is why OnePlus has decided to merge Oxygen OS and HydrogenOS for faster updates. The news comes from XDA, who spoke to a OnePlus representative.
The move isn’t exactly surprising because we have seen OnePlus take the “Open Beta” route, with OxygenOS, by releasing Community Builds for the OnePlus 3, which we did report about recently. Basically, OnePlus uses the feedback from users to improve its operating system.This is kind of what Microsoft did with Windows 10 and its Insider Preview Program, and proved to be incredibly successful.
There is no ETA as to when the merger of OxygenOS and HydrogenOS will take place, but given the OxygenOS community Builds that have been rolling out rapidly, it might happen quite soon.