Last year, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau took up an additional position as a Senior Vice President and Chief Product Experience Officer at OPLUS – a company that wholly owns Oppo, has a majority stake in OnePlus and a minority stake in Realme. Since then, there have been notable events which had eventually led to OnePlus deepening its integration with Oppo, and now we will soon see the results of this amalgamation in the smartphones manufactured by both the companies.
In a post on OnePlus forums, Lau revealed that OnePlus and Oppo have decided to merge their custom OxygenOS and ColorOS skins into a new unified skin running on top of Android. This move could ensure that OnePlus rolls out software updates more quickly – something it has been slow at for older phones lately. Part of this amalgamation has already happened – OnePlus Nord 2 launched with a version of OxygenOS that runs on top of Oppo’s ColorOS and OnePlus phones released in 2021 in China now come with ColorOS instead of HydrogenOS – OnePlus’ former Android skin for the Chinese market.
With the announcement of the merger of the companies’ Android skins, the teams working on the integration of the OxygenOS and ColorOS skins have also been merged to develop the new Android skin. This merged Operating System team will be headed by global OxygenOS head Garry C. Lau also mentions that the unified operating system would keep the DNA of OxygenOS alive alongside giving users an “upgraded experience overall.” This could mean that the unified Android skin might still contain some customisation so that OnePlus phones retain its tagline of providing clean and lightweight skin.
OnePlus and Oppo teams are aiming to complete the integration with the next major Android update in 2022. Details about which existing devices would be eligible for the update are yet to be revealed, but OnePlus should be covering all phones that would still be eligible for the major Android upgrade in 2022 which is expected to be Android 13. This new – yet unnamed – Android skin will launch with the next OnePlus flagship series – likely OnePlus 10 with Android 12 – which is planned for the first half of 2022.
In the same post, Lau has also revealed OnePlus’ new product strategy. The company will continue to offer devices at various price points. OnePlus’ phones in the premium and ultra-premium category will cost above US$500 and include the R series and the company’s (numbered) flagship phones. These devices will be available globally, despite the OnePlus 9R being very limited with the markets it launched in. OnePlus’ entry-level and Premium mid-range phones include the Nord and the Nord CE series, and will be available between US$300-US$500 and their affordable Nord N series will be available between US$100-US$300. These phones will be localized as per trends observed in a country, and the same phone need not be available globally.