OnePlus initially found its niche by appealing to hardcore Android enthusiasts. Over the years, the company's phones have always had a strong ROM/kernel development scene. OnePlus even sent free devices to popular developers — until now, that is.
Several notable developers, including John Wu (Creator of Magisk) and Francisco Franco (creator of Franco Kernel), revealed on Twitter that OnePlus has ended its developer seeding program. We've reached out to the company for comment, but we have not received a response yet.
For the record @oneplus just ended their Developer seeding program where they would send a bunch of us a "free" unit. It shouldn't impact things too much on the Kernel side for the 6T since it shares the same tree with the 6, but the rom scene will likely be fucked.
— Francisco (@franciscof_1990) November 27, 2018
@oneplus just terminated the dev seeding program: no more devices sent to devs for development.
Devs like @franciscof_1990, @Dees_Troy, @osm0sis_xda, @arter97, all major ROM devs are on the list.
I'm "looking forward" to see how the 6t forum will eventually end up LOL.
— John Wu (@topjohnwu) November 27, 2018
OnePlus isn't the only major Android device manufacturer stepping away from the development community. Huawei halted its bootloader unlock program earlier this year, even though the company sent phones to prominent ROM and kernel developers a few months prior.
This isn't a surprising move by OnePlus — the company is moving its focus towards carrier partnerships (and 4K TVs), and the number of people who purchase a phone based on what ROMs are available is relatively minuscule.
It's difficult to predict how ending the developer program will affect future ROM/kernel development for OnePlus phones, but my guess is that not much will change. There was an active development scene before the program came into being, and plenty of other phones (like the Pixel 2 XL) have ROMs and kernels without any help from the manufacturer.
A new statement issued by a spokesperson asserts that OnePlus is still very interested in maintaining a good relationship with developers, and that the company's working now to retool the process through which it interacts with them:
We’ve temporarily scaled back our developer program while we work out how to make it even better in the future. We’ll be updating the selection criteria and communication channels with developers in our seeding program for better co-operation. We will restart the program and select Devs based on the new criteria and will work on providing the best possible support to community development efforts for OnePlus devices.
OnePlus developer program is back up and running
According to our friends at XDA Developers, the OnePlus developer program is once again underway, with several participating devs confirming that they've received a OnePlus 6T from the company. Apparently, the pool of chosen devs will be smaller this time around, but it's still great to hear that OnePlus has restored the program.
Just received the OnePlus 6T from @oneplus. Took them a while to get things sorted out but I'm glad their developer support program kept going since it helps us.
— Francisco (@franciscof_1990) February 1, 2019
And true to their word, my OnePlus 6T arrived today! Thanks to @oneplus for continuing to foster an open development community in keeping the Developer Seeding Program alive, and saving us all from having to start doing unboxing videos to get devices for development! 😁
— Chris Renshaw (@osm0sis_xda) January 31, 2019
- XDA Developers