OnePlus is bigger than ever, but it's not quite the same company that first arrived on the scene in 2014. The days of flagship killers, limited releases, and near-stock software are long gone, replaced with countless phones each year and a lagging update schedule that can't compete with the likes of Samsung. In an attempt to fix its software woes, OnePlus is announcing a new release schedule for its devices, and it comes as part of the recent merger with Oppo.
In its first change to its update plans since 2018, OnePlus's newest phones are getting a longer lease on life. Flagships starting with the OnePlus 8 series will now receive three major Android updates and four years of security patches, adding a year onto each type — that beats Google's current commitment for Pixel updates by a year of security patches, placing OnePlus just behind Samsung's commitment. Older flagships, meanwhile, are stuck on their current update schedule, and carrier variants will still have to rely on those specific partners.
As for the Nord series, things are a bit more complicated. The Nord and Nord CE will receive two new Android versions and three security patches. Starting with the N10 and N100, the Nord N-series will also receive three years of security patches (up from two) though still just a single major Android update.
Poor software support has been a problem for OnePlus for some time now, and these changes come as another consequence of the recent merger with Oppo. By all appearances, this a much-needed improvement for OnePlus, and it also sounds like OnePlus will be merging development resources with Oppo, which could mean better quality updates as well — we'll have to see.
If you were hoping this news would mean more frequent updates, that isn't the case. OnePlus tells us it's still promising every-two-month updates for its flagships.
As part of today's announcement, the company confirmed this improved schedule is only possible because the codebase for OxygenOS and ColorOS are integrating this year.
OnePlus says that this change isn't user-facing — apparently, none of us would've noticed if it wasn't being announced, which means it shouldn't result in any visual differences. The forum post also recommits to Oxygen remaining its global OS, just a couple of weeks after Pete Lau said the same. New phones from OnePlus will use this integrated codebase from Oxygen and Color, while older devices will receive it as part of Android 12 later this year.