Out with the old, in with the new: LineageOS cut support for Android 9 Pie earlier this year, and to make up for the loss, the open-source project has just released version 18.1 based on Android 11. It comes with official support for about 60 phones and tablets.
LineageOS is the most-used custom Android ROM around, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for others. Paranoid Android was a popular choice back in the KitKat days, and while the ROM returned in full force with Nougat builds in 2017, there hasn't been much news since. Now the project is back (again), touting Android 10 builds for nine phones so far.
LineageOS is the most popular custom ROM in existence, and the project prides itself on bringing newer versions of Android to unsupported devices. However, Lineage has been a bit slow to roll out a version based on Android 10 — the Pie-based ROM was already available by this time last year. Thankfully, the next major version of LineageOS seems to be just around the corner.
As 2019 ends and we enter a new decade, I felt the story of OnePlus deserved a bit more examination. In an email interview with CMO Kyle Kiang, I probed the history of a company that is often as shocking in its successes as it is in its marketing misfires. As it crests its sixth year as a smartphone vendor, it's more competitive than ever, coming a long way from the days when it could barely manage to build enough $349 OnePlus Ones using a tightly controlled and very annoying invitation system.
OnePlus has also transformed in ways I don't believe any of us predicted, going from a scrappy, value-first smartphone maker to a legitimate competitor in a field that includes some of the world's most recognizable brands: Samsung, Apple, and Google.
Back in 2016, the OnePlus 3 was a shock to the smartphone market, following up on the underwhelming OnePlus 2 with flagship-grade specs at a disruptive $400 price. Sadly, it's the end of an era for both it and the spec-bumped Oneplus 3T, as the pair of phones are getting their very last update.
As unfortunate as it sounds, it's rare for an Android phone to get major updates two years after release. Google and Samsung have done it on occasion, but it's far from the norm. OnePlus received plenty of praise when it announced that the OnePlus 3 and 3T, both released in 2016, would get Android 9 Pie. Now the company has delivered on that promise, as Pie is now rolling out to both phones.
The day has finally come. Rejoice, OnePlus 3/3T owners, for Pie is now available for your phone via a Community Beta. OnePlus is asking for feedback and help getting this ready for the prime time (aka stable branch), which means that you can download and install it on your device right now and try it out.
Most phones that aren't Pixels are lucky to get one or two major updates. OnePlus has managed to offer better update support for its phones in spite of the lower prices. The OnePlus 3 and 3T launched in 2016 with Marshmallow, but they've gotten Nougat and Oreo updates. Now, OnePlus is preparing to offer a Pie update, and you can help test it.
LineageOS is one of the most popular custom Android ROMs available, with over two million active installations. The project officially ended support for the 14.1 (Android 7.1) branch a few days ago, in preparation for LineageOS 16. The 16.0 branch is finally rolling out, and it's bringing Android 9 Pie to dozens of phones and tablets.
Last month, OnePlus formalized its software maintenance schedule. Like Google, the company promised customers two years of Android OS version upgrades, followed by an additional year of security maintenance updates. This new schedule applied to hardware starting immediately, which most of us had assumed meant that the last version of Android the OnePlus 3 and 3T would see was Android O via either 8.0 or 8.1. Well, earlier today OnePlus promised owners of the 3 and 3T the unexpected: Both phones will be getting Android P, but at a cost.