AndroidSoftware Updates

OnePlus update: Oxygen OS, Lollipop ROMS, and Cyaongen branding


Back in January, the growing rift in the once promising partnership between CyanogenMod and OnePlus resulted in OnePlus announcing an in-house Android 5.0 Lollipop build in the early stages of development. Naturally, this caused some concern for users, who wondered whether CyanogenMod would continue to release updates and builds for the One, as well as how good OnePlus’s self made ROM would actually be.

In the past week or so, more information has surfaced pertaining to both questions, but it doesn’t really seem that either matter has gotten much clearer.

First off, OnePlus last week announced the name of their in-house ROM, which was chosen by the team after an online contest. The new ROM will be called Oxygen OS, which provides some nice alliteration with the OnePlus name. The company also mentioned the symbolism of the name, noting that “As an element, Oxygen is the epitome of simplicity, yet it’s also extraordinarily powerful.

Interestingly, no specific features were announced, and Oxygen OS isn’t actually available yet. Instead, “more information” will be released on February 12, though whether than includes a build of the new ROM is unclear. What we know right now is only that Oxygen OS will supposedly be “open, customizable, and free of bloat and unnecessary features.”

Of course, for those interested in a build of Lollipop right now, CyanogenMod 12 nightlies have actually been available for the One since early January, around when OnePlus’s own 5.0 ROM was released. In fact, even development of the official OnePlus CyanogenMod 12S ROM has been progressing, as the build entered final testing just a few days ago. It seems likely that this will be the last major official update from CyanogenMod for the One, but it isn’t yet clear what this means for the regular CM12 nightlies, which have so far still been released regularly.

OnePlus, in fact, recently released a teaser video showing the One running an Android 5.0 ROM of some sort. Though it was initially assumed to be early OxygenOS, based on the icons (namely Apollo and DSP manager) it seems likely that this is indeed the official CyangoenMod-based build of Lollipop (CM12S) for the One.

However, don’t think this is a vote of confidence, or perhaps an olive branch, from OnePlus to CyanogenMod. To the contrary, it seems that new OnePlus One smartphones will lack the “Cyanogen” branding found on earlier models like the one in the above image. Make no mistake, despite apparently showing off the official collaborative build of CyanogenMod in a teaser video, OnePlus is indeed moving on.

If this all seems rather crazy to you, that’s because it is. Just to recap, here’s what seems to be going on. If I understand correctly, there are going to be three different semi-official Lollipop builds for the One between CyanogenMod and Oneplus. There will be the new OxygenOS, the collaborative CyanogenMod 12S from the video, and the “regular” CyanogenMod builds made without any input from OnePlus.

Even so, the “officially official” OnePlus ROM going forward is clearly going to be Oxygen OS, as OnePlus is attempting to remove all trace of Cyanogen from its smartphones down to the branding. What makes this situation difficult is that until Oxygen is ready, OnePlus still has to use CM12S as seen in the video.

All in all, it is a thoroughly confusing situation, which I suppose isn’t too surprising given that the two nascent companies just essentially experienced a messy teenage breakup. Eventually, though, OnePlus should be able to streamline things with Oxygen OS, and leave Cyanogen Inc to either continue supporting or not supporting the One as they see fit, which should finally put an end to this whole situation.

Apparently, it is pretty difficult to run a startup company, let alone get two to work together effectively.

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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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