OnePlus is switching its next phones to run OPPO’s ColorOS in China

OnePlus is switching its next phones to run OPPO’s ColorOS in China

Update 1 (03/21/2021 @ 10:54 PM ET): OnePlus has confirmed that its upcoming smartphones, starting with the OnePlus 9 series, will run OPPO’s ColorOS software in China. Click here for more information. The article, as published on March 17, 2021, is preserved below.

OnePlus has seen great success in recent years, growing from a brand that catered to just tech enthusiasts and early adopters, to becoming a much more widely accepted commercial entity across the globe. The company now boasts of a fair few smartphones under its umbrella, and these phones run on either HydrogenOS (China) or OxygenOS (Global/Rest of the world). While OxygenOS is very much alive and running, it seems that HydrogenOS is on its way out, as OnePlus smartphones sold in China could seemingly make the switch to OPPO’s ColorOS soon.

XDA Senior Member hikari_calyx brought to our attention an alleged announcement made in the official OnePlus QQ group, wherein the company had announced that it will be ceasing the development of HydrogenOS.

Alleged announcement of HydrogenOS shutdown in China

According to this alleged announcement, the official website for HydrogenOS in China will shut down on March 24, while the OTA server will shut down on April 1. This would effectively mark the end of HydrogenOS for OnePlus devices in the Chinese region. Further, the alleged announcement goes on to state that OnePlus devices in China will then switch over to running OPPO’s ColorOS, and they will also be sold through the OPPO Store in China.

Users on the official OnePlus forums in China have taken notice of the alleged announcement, and there are several consequent discussions that can be found on the same, like this, this, and this. Apparently, forum users believe that the upcoming OnePlus 9 series devices sold in China will ship with ColorOS out-of-the-box, rather than HydrogenOS. The reaction to the alleged announcement is mixed: some forum users love the idea of this change as ColorOS has better localized features in China; others do not like it as they prefer the stock-like feel of HydrogenOS. Some forum users are talking about the ability to switch between HydrogenOS and ColorOS UX skins, though we were unable to ascertain if such claims had any substance to them.

We reached out to OnePlus for a statement and to confirm, deny, or clarify this alleged announcement.

We don’t have any updates about HydrogenOS to share at the moment, but we can confirm that OxygenOS remains our operating system for all global devices.

OnePlus spokesperson

To reiterate, there are no changes proposed to OxygenOS and for devices sold outside of China. The alleged announcement makes a specific reference to only HydrogenOS within the context of OnePlus devices sold in China.

If you’re wondering where the OnePlus-OPPO connection comes from, there’s a lot that you missed over the years. OnePlus traces its origin as an offshoot established by former OPPO employees Pete Lau and Carl Pei. There are several instances over the years of OnePlus making use of OPPO production lines and supply chain resources. Devices like the OnePlus Nord N100 closely resemble devices like the OPPO A33, while on the flagship end, you can see several key tech breakthroughs shared, as it happened between the OnePlus 8 Pro and the OPPO Find X2 Pro. More recently, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau took on additional responsibilities as Senior Vice President at OPLUS, a role that allegedly involves duties around the brand synergy between the major OPLUS investment properties, namely OPPO and OnePlus. And earlier this year, OnePlus and OPPO even merged their hardware R&D teams under OPLUS, though this integration was around hardware and not software.

The biggest differentiator between OnePlus and OPPO has remained software, with OxygenOS and HydrogenOS on OnePlus devices being a different experience from ColorOS on OPPO smartphones. For the Chinese region, this difference might not exist in the future.


Update 1: OnePlus 9 series to run ColorOS at launch, flashable build for OnePlus 8 released

In a blog post published on the official OnePlus forums, OxygenOS Product Lead Gary C. has confirmed that the company’s “China market devices will now be using a customized version of ColorOS, tailored specifically for OnePlus smartphones, starting with the upcoming OnePlus 9 series.” The Product Lead also confirmed that the company’s global devices will continue to run OxygenOS.

ColorOS 11 on OnePlus 9

Over on Weibo, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau says that HydrogenOS will continue to be maintained and updated for past devices. On the OnePlus BBS forums, though, we’ve learned that the company has released a flashable build of ColorOS for the OnePlus 8 for those who are interested in switching over.

About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

I am a tech journalist with XDA since 2015, while being a qualified business-litigation lawyer with experience in the field. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected] or on Twitter (@aamirsidd94).