OxygenOS 13 status information page

OxygenOS 13 hands-on: Broken promises

OnePlus held two media roundtables over the course of the last 12 months to talk about its software efforts. The first (in August 2021) outlined a vision for a unified OS that would make its way to all OnePlus and OPPO phones outside China. The idea was to merge the best of OxygenOS with ColorOS, creating an interface that’s “fast and smooth” while being “stable and feature-rich.”

In a second roundtable (in February 2022), OnePlus walked back most of those claims. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau and head of software Gary Chen announced instead that OxygenOS would continue to exist alongside ColorOS, and that OxygenOS 13 will be a “light and clean” interface that will be “familiar” to OnePlus users. That sounded too good to be true considering just how tightly integrated OxygenOS 12 was with ColorOS 12 — for all intents and purposes, OxygenOS is an offshoot of ColorOS with a few extra features.

OxygenOS 13

(Image credit: OnePlus)

My internal sources confirmed as such, stating that there wasn’t a dedicated software team for OxygenOS anymore; it had been dissolved and subsumed into OPPO. Nevertheless, I wanted to withhold judgement until I actually used the Android 13-based OxygenOS 13 and see if OnePlus at least made an effort. 

After using OxygenOS 13 for just over a day on my OnePlus 10 Pro, I can say that this isn’t the case. The software doesn’t feel anywhere close to vanilla Android, and while I haven’t used ColorOS 13 just yet (it’s launching August 18), it’s a safe bet that it is virtually indistinguishable to OxygenOS 13.

OxygenOS 13 notification pane music player tile against RGB case

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

OxygenOS 13 uses a new Aquamorphic design that takes cues from aquatic elements, and while there are subtle tweaks to make the interface look a little more modern, the broader design language hasn’t changed by too much. 

#OxygenOS #handson #Broken #promises

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