OnePlus has been shaking the industry from the very start. They offer great hardware at unbelievable prices, but they have been divided in the software department. Literally; they created Oxygen OS for the general market, while their Chinese customers get to use Hydrogen OS. The former offers a much more clean interface that looks very much like vanilla Android, while Hydrogen OS is a tweaked in a heavier manner.
Running separate software versions that cater to multiple markets may be convenient to attract more users, but this equation comes with its downsides. One of them being the fact that efforts have to be divided. This is why OnePlus has decided to bring its software teams together in order to achieve a single, optimal user interface. And it seems the main reason for doing this is improving update times, which they know they are not exactly the best at.
“The main benefit of combining our team resources is to speed up software updates. We know we have some room to continue improving there, and this is an important step in the right direction.”
Bringing their teams together would allow for developers to put all their focus on a single UI, helping them push updates faster, as well as giving them more room for growth and improvements. Bug fixes might be better taken care of, for example.
A big part of the plan is to use feedback from the community to see what features should stay or not. Community Builds seem to be important, as they are allowing OnePlus to evaluate what would be more universally accepted by the general public. Some suggest Oxygen OS 3.5 is our first look at what could be coming from this merger.
“With the community build we are experimenting with new ideas and features, and then using the feedback from our community to refine… In fact, the next versions of the community build will address a lot of the feedback we have already received.”
This might be sad news for those who like the pure experience Oxygen OS currently has to offer, though. We suppose you have consider whether faster updates are more important than a Pure Google-like experience.