Science & Technology

OnePlus Confirms No OnePlus 9T in 2021, New Android Software Coming

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In the last few years, OnePlus has gone from scrappy upstart to a staple of carrier 5G lineups. It got there in art by pumping out high-end phones with the latest hardware, sometimes releasing four flagship devices in a single year. That might change going forward — OnePlus has announced that it’s not doing a T-series update to the OnePlus 9. The next time OnePlus releases a phone, it’ll be running a new version of Android that replaces the current Oxygen OS.

OnePlus has always been under the BBK Electronics corporate umbrella along with companies like Vivo, iQOO, and Oppo. Earlier this year, OnePlus was merged into Oppo. The two firms have already shared hardware designs and technologies, but the similarities are becoming harder to ignore now that OnePlus is little more than a sub-brand within Oppo. 

OnePlus and Oppo both use Android on their phones, but they were two different products; OnePlus had Oxygen OS and Oppo had Color OS. OnePlus already adopted the Color OS code base for Android 11, but that’s not enough, apparently. OnePlus and Oppo will instead get a “Unified and Upgraded Global Operating System” starting next year with the launch of OP’s next flagship phone. Oppo and OnePlus phones will reportedly still have distinct looks and features in spite of the “unified” software. 

Presumably, Oppo has some justification for reworking its Android skins, but it’s hard to see from the outside. Currently, OnePlus and Oppo both use the same Android code base with different themes and features. The new unified OS will have a shared codebase…and distinct features for Oppo and OnePlus phones. There’s no way around that when Chinese and western consumers expect different things from their mobile experiences. 

In past years, OnePlus would be talking about its latest phones as fall approaches, but that’s not happening in 2021. The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro will continue as the company’s flagships for the remainder of the year. However, it has continued to release a raft of budget phones like the Nord 2 and OnePlus 9R. Although, these devices target markets outside of North America. 

OP isn’t alone in scaling back, either. The semiconductor shortage has caused even Samsung to scale back its plans for this year. Whether the T-series will return next year is anyone’s guess. We might be looking at a more sedate, by the numbers OnePlus when the dust settles.

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