OnePlus has been surprisingly hesitant to illuminate the precise differences between the T-Mobile and unlocked versions of its phones, but gradually the distinctions are coming to light. Recently, it was revealed to us that the T-Mobile version replaces the OnePlus Launcher's "Shelf" functionality with the popular Google
Now Feed Discover, and OnePlus remains tight-lipped as to whether the feature is coming to other phones, though it admits only the T-Mobile version has it for now.
Home Settings section of the OnePlus Launcher (left), and a new "Left most screen" setting (right).
The setting is enabled by default on T-Mobile phones, providing Google's Discover content feed to the left of the default screen of the OnePlus Launcher, much like the Pixel launchers. It's a feature many people go out of their way to acquire, switching to things like Nova Launcher, Action Launcher, and Rootless Launcher just to get it. Unfortunately for such enthusiasts, this setting is not present at all on the Unlocked version of the phone (pictured below)
No "Left most screen" option in the OnePlus Launcher on unlocked phones.
We reached out to OnePlus to see if this feature would be coming to the unlocked phones — since it's something people have wanted pretty much since the OnePlus Launcher was a thing — and we received a fairly generic statement. OnePlus refers to the Google Discover feature in its launcher as Google Now Minus One, and we were told: "Only the T-Mobile version has the Google Now Minus One screen functionality."
That statement doesn't refute that the feature could come to other phones in the future — really, it just confirms what our own tests in the meantime have demonstrated — but it certainly doesn't sound like OnePlus had given it much thought. Given our own excitement and subsequent disappointment to discover the exclusivity of this feature, I hope OnePlus thinks about bringing it to unlocked phones. The Shelf is basically useless, and Google Discover isn't.