For the longest time, Chinese phone makers have been accused of aping Apple’s design, forcing Android to look more like iOS in order to appeal to an iPhone-crazed market. Recently, the push for “cleaner” Android experiences have made companies like Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo turn around and advertise their own spin on a near-stock experience. Just when you thought things have settled down, Vivo reveals its next custom Android skin, OriginOS, and, if you didn’t know any better, you might even think it’s a completely different OS entirely.
Android phone makers, at least those with their Android skins, tend to apply their own design language. Vivo’s OriginOS, however, seems to take it to the extreme with what looks like a fusion of Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s most recent Fluid Design aesthetic. You have plenty of boxes with rounded corners in a default light theme and a grid-based home screen that lets you place widgets in a neat way.
Those home screen widgets are apparently being called “atomic notifications” according to Sparrows News, though they serve the same function nonetheless. Admittedly, Google has made Android widgets languish to the point that many probably think that Apple invented the whole system with iOS 14. One thing the Android-based OriginOS can still boast of that iOS can’t is its dynamic home screen engine that can change wallpapers or colors depending on real-world conditions like weather.
OriginOS’ changes go deeper than that, however. It will reportedly introduce a “memory fusion” system that will use part of a phone’s internal storage to expand its RAM so that a phone with 8GB of RAM will actually have 11GB of space to work with. More advanced computer users will probably be familiar with the concept of swap memory on Linux or virtual memory on Windows. While it does expand how much RAM the system and apps can use, it also comes with some performance disadvantages due to the slower internal storage.
Vivo hasn’t revealed yet which phones will be getting OriginOS but it says that users will be able to switch between that and the now more vanilla Funtouch OS. OriginOS definitely looks pretty but it remains to be seen if it will sit well with users who already found Vivo’s original skin too much in the first place.