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OnePlus releases its own version of Android as a replacement for Cyanogen

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Last year, Chinese phone maker OnePlus tried to take on Samsung and HTC with a flagship-style phone at half the price. That device, the OnePlus One, ran a customized version of Android developed by Cyanogen, but now the company is ready to unveil its own software. After a couple of delays, OxygenOS is now available for OnePlus One owners to download and flash onto their smartphones.

OxygenOS was developed in-house by OnePlus, though at this point it is merely a modest refresh of Android 5.0 Lollipop. In a blog post, the company explains that it took a "back to basics" approach with the software, adding, "We place things like performance and battery life over gimmicks and bloated features."

"Back to basics."

What that means is that the software doesn't look much different than what you'll see on a Nexus device. There are a few added features, like gesture shortcuts you can input while the screen is off, an expanded quick settings menu, a file explorer, and a couple of advanced options (most all of which were present in Cyanogen). But simple is not necessarily a bad thing — it should certainly be stable, fast, and functional.

The company says its goal with OxygenOS "is to provide faster, more meaningful updates and a better-integrated range of services for every OnePlus user." What it doesn't say is that the software also gives it a way to reduce its dependence on Cyanogen. The two companies have had strained relations since Cyanogen signed an exclusive deal with Indian phone maker Micromax just before OnePlus' planned launch in the subcontinent. It's expected that OxygenOS will eventually be the default on future devices like the OnePlus Two, but, for now, you'll have to install it yourself over Cyanogen if you want it. You can find instructions on OnePlus' website.