After a rather messy drama during its infancy involving Cyanogen (not CyanogenMod directly), OnePlus opted to strike off on its is own with the blends of Android, HydrogenOS for mainland China and OxygenOS for the rest of the world. Both have been positively received by OnePlus’ customers, praised especially for their near-stock Android experience. Change, however, is afoot for both custom OnePlus software but while OxygenOS is just getting a facelift, it has now been confirmed that HydrogenOS is getting the ax, amusingly in favor of OPPO’s own custom Android skin, ColorOS.
Almost every manufacturer has its own spin on the Android experience, some taking things closer to Google’s preferred “vanilla” version. For the longest time, OnePlus was praised for sticking to that character but the latest OxygenOS 11 has brought substantial changes that proved to be somewhat controversial. While that only affected global OnePlus phones, it seems that those in China might have it worse, depending on your point of view.
After a series of leaks and rumors, OnePlus has now officially confirmed that starting with the OnePlus 9 series, all OnePlus phones sold in mainland China will be running a version of OPPO ColorOS customized specifically for OnePlus. HydrogenOS will still be around but only for maintenance and updates of older phones. Again, this only affects models sold in China and the global market will continue running the new OxygenOS.
The change is apparently receiving mixed feedback among OnePlus users. Some seem to welcome it due to how ColorOS is more mature when it comes to localized features. Others, however, complain about the loss of a stock Android experience. Then again, that’s also what global users of OxygenOS 11 are experiencing anyway.
OnePlus adopting OPPO’s custom Android UX cements the relationship between the two companies even further. They already have common roots, with both OnePlus co-founders being former OPPO employees. More recently, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau also took up a position in a company that has investments in both smartphone makers. Whether that relationship will stop there, however, only time will tell.