OnePlus phone owners can probably agree that the company needs to work on faster OS updates. (It's a safe bet: pretty much everyone can agree on that, including Nexus owners.) OnePlus is trying. To that end, the company has announced that its two disparate Android software builds will be merged into one: Oxygen OS and Hydrogen OS. I'll pause for a moment to allow the chemistry nerds to make an H2O joke before we continue.
If you're not familiar with the OnePlus software offerings, Oxygen is the mostly-AOSP ROM that was originally designed by former members of the Paranoid Android team, whereas Hydrogen is the Chinese ROM designed to appeal to what that market seems to prefer... which basically means a more iPhone-style UI. (For reference, see the Android manufacturer skins from the likes of Lenovo, Xiaomi, Meizu, et cetera). OnePlus told the XDA blog that the two development teams will be combined in the near future to consolidate resources and, hopefully, bring updates to users on both sides of the east-west divide much sooner. The company also hopes to improve its support with only one official software package.
According to XDA, Oxygen OS 3.5 (based on Android Marshmallow) already bears some of the fruit of this union, particularly in the look and feel. We've been told that the company will be paying close attention to user feedback for some of the more obvious UI changes in Oxygen. Obviously moving towards a more skinned UI and away from AOSP won't make some purists happy, and for those, XDA suggests turning to community alternatives like "stock" ROMs and CyanogenMod, both easily installed thanks to an unlocked bootloader.
- XDA blog