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OnePlus now matches Samsung's Android update pledge, but with a catch

OnePlus is extending its update support on select devices.
By
November 30, 2022
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TL;DR
  • OnePlus says it is committing to a four-year plan for OS updates and a five-year plan for security updates.
  • The company plans on launching Oxygen OS 13.1 globally staring in the first half of 2023.
  • Oxygen OS 13.1 will bring a number of features like an AI system booster, dynamic always on display, spatial audio, and more.

When it comes to software support, most phone manufacturers tend to commit to just two major OS upgrades and security updates. But it appears OnePlus is planning to buck that trend by tacking on some additional years of support for select devices.

At a roundtable event held in London, executives from OnePlus talked about the company’s plans for its Android 13 skin — Oxygen OS 13. Taking a page out of Samsung’s playbook, it was revealed that the firm is committing to four major OS updates and five years of security updates on select devices from 2023 and beyond. Although the company didn’t clarify, it seems apparent that this promise will only apply to its high-end flagships.

As to why OnePlus is changing its update strategy, OnePlus claims that it has noticed that people care more about updates these days. Gary Chen, head of software products at OnePlus, had this to say:

As a user-oriented company, we do everything we can to enhance user experience. With more users keeping their devices for longer, we want to make sure we can offer that possibility. This new update policy will give users access to the latest security and functional features required to power OnePlus’ signature fast-and-smooth experience throughout the lifetime of the phone.

Additionally, the tech company dove into its plans for Oxygen OS 13.1 and Oxygen OS 14. It was revealed that the company expects to launch Oxygen OS 13.1 globally in the first half of 2023. While the update is said to bring a variety of improvements, OnePlus says its focus this time around was on enhancing safety, digital health and well-being, and the multimedia experience.

The team further elaborated on the software optimization and improvements made in Oxygen OS 13, which include:

AI system booster

One of the improvements will be an AI system booster that OnePlus says will enhance memory management by using an optimized algorithm for OxygenOS 13. OnePlus claims this feature will raise the fluency rate by 30%, app installation speed by 20%, and app startup speed by 10%. Reportedly, the feature should allow users to suspend more applications at once, maintain performance even during overloaded memory consumption, and enable faster and smarter OTA upgrades.

Always on display

The update will include a new dynamic always on display (AOD) that will show temperature changes in real time. It will also let users view time, date, notifications, missed calls, and more when the screen is turned off. Additionally, OnePlus says that it has entered a partnership with Spotify and will be the first OEM to offer a music AOD.

Spatial audio

Another first for OnePlus is it is working to co-develop spatial audio technology with Google and Dolby. The feature will reportedly support multi-channel and dual-channel content.

Private Safe 2.0

Private Safe 2.0 enables auto decryption to keep the sharing of data safe and secure. The company provided an example of how it works while using Facebook Messager and WhatsApp. When using the apps, OnePlus says the feature implements “Auto Pixelate” on private information to ensure that the user’s data will not be accidentally leaked. When the app asks for permission, users will have a choice to reject, accept one time, or always accept.

Aquamorphic Design

OnePlus says that the colors in the new update are more vibrant and neutral than in the previous version. It also provides buttons with clear borders to increase the intuitiveness of the UI. And a variety of shortcuts have been added to improve the user experience.

When talking about what’s in store for Oxygen OS down the road, the speakers at the roundtable said OnePlus is currently working on the future direction of Oxygen OS. The group didn’t give up many details, but said that the company wants the next OS to be “safer, more stable, smarter, more globally capable, and with better support.”

Oxygen OS 13 has started rolling out for a few of OnePlus’ phones, but some are still waiting in the wings. It was also overheard that OnePlus plans on delivering Oxygen OS 13 to the OnePlus 10T sometime before Christmas.