While we wait for a follow up to our favorite phone of 2014, OnePlus One owners have two big releases to look forward to: OxygenOS and CyanogenMod 12S. The latter is still mired in certification purgatory, but the former is already available for download, and we’ve got it up and running here in the office.
We aren’t ready to make any lofty judgements on the release just yet, but it looks as though Oxygen was merely meant to lay down a foundation—and, of course, to break free of OnePlus’s reliance on Cyanogen, whom OnePlus had an unceremonious falling out with. That’s neither here nor there, because OxygenOS is here, and it’s quite nice based on the limited time we’ve been able to spend with it.
It’s definitely not much right now—basically stock Android 5.0 with a few minor tweaks—but we like that approach. Anytime a company shows restraint with the UI and instead adds a few useful additions, we’re onboard. OnePlus said over the weekend that the early focus of Oxygen is on performance and battery life, not gimmicks and bloated features. What has been added wasn’t simply for the “sake of differentiation.”
If you’ve ever used the OnePlus One at any length, Oxygen running on the device will feel very familiar to CM11S. The software tweaks are essentially the same, just infused with some of Paranoid Android’s neat quick settings customizations. There are gestures for launching the camera, waking the screen, and more, along with a file manager.
Definitely not much, but everything feels slick and smooth right now, which is the most important thing. Again, it seems like OnePlus is more focused on laying down a foundation. After that, it’ll work to implement tweaks where it makes sense. The company actually released an app where users can provide feedback, so your input will factor into what direction Oxygen heads in next.
OnePlus has some really experienced folks working for the Oxygen team, so you can rest assured there are some exciting things to come. Hopefully that means timely updates, because that’s one aspect where OnePlus has let its customers down. Back in February, the company said Oxygen was created for “better localization and faster updates,” so we’ll see if that promise is kept.
CM12S is still on the way—it should be here this week—so choose wisely. We haven’t spent enough time with Oxygen to know how battery life performs or anything like that, but we’ll report back with any significant findings.