What we’re looking at here is a video demo of HydrogenOS, the firmware installed on OnePlus 3s sold in China. Why are we looking at it? It seems that some of its features—or at least the back-end code—are bound for OxygenOS, the ROM that powers Western variants of the device.
The official story, as told to XDA, is that the two ROMs are being merged to make software updates faster. The progress of this undertaking can be seen in the community builds of OxygenOS that OnePlus is posting to their English-language forums. I’ve not flashed any of the community builds myself only because the official OxygenOS has been so great—this is honestly the first time I’ve run stock firmware on an Android device (with root, of course) since I bought my first Nexus in 2010.
But Android Central has learned that there’s a bit more to it than that. Apparently some key members of the OxygenOS team have left the company:
Long hours and insufficient resources in the run-up to OnePlus 3’s launch led to a number of OxygenOS team members striking a deal to terminate their contracts just after the phone’s release, according to people who didn’t want to be named because they signed non-disclosure agreements.
According to these people, despite a 3:1 ratio of OxygenOS users to its Chinese market counterpart, OnePlus was disproportionately pouring resources into HydrogenOS, causing strain between the two teams and leading the subsequent talent purge.
This puts OnePlus in a tough spot, as the fast and efficient OxygenOS has been a major selling point for the OP3 thus far. The good news is that a new version of the official ROM, as discussed on reddit, seems to be carrying on that tradition. More on this as it develops…