OnePlus is switching to ColorOS, an Android variant used in Oppo smartphones, for the new OnePlus 9 series in China. This move was announced at the OnePlus forum by Gary C, Product Manager at OxygenOS, which is what OnePlus phones use around the world.
“As a global technology company, we are always looking for ways to address the different usage habits and preferences of users around the world,” says Gary C. “We truly believe that this custom new operating system will provide Chinese users with a software experience that is better suited to their tastes.”
The global OnePlus 9 series, which will be released in full tomorrow, remains unchanged. It will still run OxygenOS. However, this seems to mean the end of HydrogenOS, a Chinese-only version of Android that OnePlus had previously used on all phones shipped from the mainland.
ColorOS is already used by more people in China than HydrogenOS. Oppo has recently become the largest smartphone brand in his home country for the first time. Reviewing Oppo’s new Find X3 Pro flagship (pictured above), I’m using it full-time right now, and it’s generally sleek and performs well. But there is no denying that HydrogenOS (and OxygenOS) offers a more minimalistic experience.
Both Oppo and OnePlus are owned by Chinese conglomerate BBK Electronics and often share critical technologies with their supply chain. Another BBK brand, Realme, also initially used ColorOS before developing their own software called Realme UI. Companies tend to openly downplay the links between them, but OnePlus’s decision to fully use Oppo’s software is one of the most striking examples of collaboration to date.