OnePlus is hard at work producing its own custom Android ROM, which will replace the Cyanogen OS on its current and future smartphones. Announced at the end of January, we don’t know much about it at this stage, but it promises to be “open, customizable, and free of bloat and unnecessary features.”
Updated on 03-18-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in release details for OxygenOS.
Launch will come on or before March 27
Following news of an update to Android 5.0 for the OnePlus One smartphone, OnePlus has also confirmed the final launch plans for OxygenOS. According to a blog post by the team, the new software will be released on or just before March 27. The OS will not be delivered over-the-air, but as a download, giving users the option to swap from the CyanogenMod OS. If it misses this, or the Android 5.0 update, deadline, OnePlus has pledged to give away five OnePlus One phones as a punishment to itself.
OnePlus told us more about OxygenOS on February 12, and while it did talk about the software in more detail, its primary discussion concentrated on the team behind it rather than features or style. It’s interesting to note several members of the crew come from Paranoid Android, a competing ROM to Cyanogen.
Luckily, the official blog post was accompanied by a Reddit AMA session, where the OnePlus’ head of mobile product revealed the software was being prepared for launch in March. Good news came for owners of the original OnePlus One. OxygenOS will work with the device, but won’t be delivered as an over-the-air update. Instead, any owners wanting to try it out will need to install the new OS themselves.
We were also informed OxygenOS will use the Google camera app as standard, but the team is working on “an awesome camera app for the v2 release.” Other new OS features include a silent mode with vibration setting, but not multi-window app support, and the ROM will only be compatible with OnePlus hardware.
Finally, although we were only treated to a single screenshot of OxygenOS’ home screen, the team said the style will be closer to stock Android than before, and the first build will be based on Android 5.0.2.
Why OxygenOS, and why is it being developed at all?
OnePlus chose the OxygenOS name after asking its loyal fans to come up with some suggestions, and was confirmed in a dedicated blog post at the end of January.
The OnePlus One launched with CyanogenMod installed, a popular modified version of Android, which served it well until the company branched out into India. A pre-existing and reportedly exclusive deal between Cyanogen and local manufacturer Micromax saw OnePlus banned from selling the One in India.
This undoubtably prompted the company to accelerate development of OxygenOS. It’s not clear whether there will be more than one version of Oxygen either, or if CyanogenMod will be abandoned entirely. In the past, CEO Pete Lau has been quoted as saying the in-house ROM is destined for phones in China, and international models will use an unnamed alternative.
In addition to OxygenOS, OnePlus has one, possibly two, new smartphones to launch in 2015. A direct sequel to the OnePlus One is almost certain, and again is likely to be reasonably priced and highly specced. Co-founder Carl Pei has hinted a second phone which emphasizes design over specifications is also being worked on.
More OxygenOS news will inevitably be released in the lead up to its launch.
Updated on 02-13-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in new details on OxygenOS from OnePlus, and from a Reddit AMA.