The OnePlus initiative, “a technology startup committed to bringing the best possible technology to users around the world,” which sought to create cheap yet fully featured Android smartphones for global markets, ran into trouble recently over licensing disputes in India with CyanogenMod, the Android OS mod of choice for many smartphone cognoscenti and its preferred software so far. Now, OnePlus has apparently decided that the solution is its own fork of the Android OS, dubbed OxygenOS.
The OnePlus statement on the issue reads:
As many of you know, we will be launching our own ROM in the near future. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what this ROM means to us and our fans. We realized that, like everything we do, our true goal is to make the product that we ourselves would want to use—to make great technology more accessible for everyone. With our ROM, that means software that is open, customizable, and free of bloat and unnecessary features. When we designed the One, we went back to the drawing board, creating a smartphone that offers a bold, powerful, straight-forward experience. And, that’s exactly what we plan to do with our ROM.
Further details are scant at the moment, beyond some breathy talk about oxygen as an element – “the epitome of simplicity, yet it’s also extraordinarily powerful” – and the exhortation to “stay tuned; more information is coming on February 12th.” But presumably the OxygenOS will stray not much further from basic Android than CyanogenMod – after all, it’s specifically described as a ROM, not a full OS, despite the OxygenOS monicker, and a full new OS is probably the last thing the smartphone community in general needs. Will OxygenOS be much of a differentiator? We’ll see.