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OnePlus says no 9T this year, 2022 flagship will run merged Oppo OS

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An interview with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau

2021’s OnePlus 9.
Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has confirmed that the company doesn’t plan to release its traditional T-series device in the second half of this year. He also announced that next year’s OnePlus flagship phone would run on a newly unified operating system, following the company’s integration with fellow BBK Electronics subsidiary Oppo. OnePlus announced it would be merging the codebases of its Android-based OxygenOS operating system with Oppo’s ColorOS in July.

This means we’re unlikely to see a OnePlus 9T following up this year’s OnePlus 9. Despite the similar names, the company’s T-series phones have offered significant upgrades over its flagships from earlier in the year. For example, the 8T had around double the charging speeds of the 8, while the 7T bumped the original 7 display to a higher 90Hz refresh rate.

“This year we will not be launching a T-series product,” Lau said via a translator in a roundtable interview with The Verge and other journalists. This will be the first year without a T-series device since OnePlus adopted the release schedule with the OnePlus 3T in 2016. Since then, like clockwork, OnePlus has released a new T-series phone in the latter half of each year, culminating in last year’s OnePlus 8T.

In what is effectively a merger between OnePlus and Oppo, the two companies will be unifying the underlying codebases of OxygenOS and Oppo’s ColorOS. The two Android-based operating systems will continue to have their own branding and unique features, Lau said, but the code underpinning them will be the same, and they’ll be developed by a unified team. The way OnePlus describes it, the approach will result in an operating system that’s “fast and smooth” and “clean and lightweight” like OxygenOS, while also being “reliable” and “smart and feature-rich” like ColorOS.

Lau said the codebase integration of the two operating systems was completed in June, and that it’s already helping to allow for more frequent software updates. But we’ll have to wait until next year to see the first OnePlus flagship launch with the newly integrated operating system. It won’t just be new OnePlus phones getting the new OS — it will also come to OnePlus’s older devices is they’re still scheduled to receive support. These support periods include three major updates for flagship phones, two for most Nord devices, and one for Nord N phones. Last week, Oppo announced that the OnePlus 9 series will receive a beta of the new software in October, followed by the OnePlus 8 series in December.

OnePlus tells The Verge that integrating its operations with Oppo was necessary to make it more efficient, and would streamline its R&D resources “to support more products and work more efficiently.” As well as integrating the two company’s operating systems, OnePlus also said it would be integrating its Warp Charge fast charging standard with Oppo’s SuperVOOC.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Oppo’s merger with OnePlus is creating redundancies, including within its ColorOS development unit, as the two BBK subsidiaries pool resources. As many as 20 percent of staff across some software and device teams are reportedly being cut, according to the report. The cuts are reportedly the result of Oppo expanding too rapidly in recent years, moving aggressively into new countries and product categories with big bets that haven’t payed off.

During our briefing, however, which took place prior to the publication of Bloomberg’s report, OnePlus’s Lau played down the possibility of merger-related layoffs. “[Redundancies haven’t] been something that’s come up during the merger,” Lau said via a translator, “We have a focus on bringing together the OnePlus and Oppo teams to be able to bring together the strengths of both sides into the merged entity.”