In an internal interview, OnePlus is promising a lot of changes to the software that will ship in the firm’s next flagship. As you may know, OnePlus uses an optimized version of Android called OxygenOS.
“We’re working on a ton of exciting stuff for the OnePlus 6T,” OnPlus user experience lead Crayon Hsieh said in an interview on the OnePlus website. “We’ve got a whole new UI coming up that you will have to experience for yourself to really understand. Our goal was to express the OnePlus design language in our UI, making this the most distinct and intuitive version of OxygenOS yet.”
OnePlus will launch the 6T on Tuesday, October 30 in New York City. The device’s hardware design—with a small, teardrop-shaped notch—has leaked unofficially and officially many times in recent months. But this is the first real preview of how OnePlus plans to improve the handset’s software experiences.
Among the changes, Hsieh says, are “a couple of features that make the user experience smoother, like an advanced Do not Disturb mode and new Navigation Gestures.”
That last bit is interesting, as OnePlus uses its own navigation that differs from the Google default.
“We’ve made Navigation Gestures smoother overall,” Hsieh explains. “Whenever you swipe up in an app, the application window will follow your finger, making for a more natural experience. It’s also faster in two ways: with a quick flick from the bottom of the screen towards the right of your screen, you can change between 2 recently used apps. As there’s no navigation bar when using gestures, users weren’t able to double-tap the ‘recents’ button to quickly switch between apps. This new gesture provides a quick and easy substitute. Another thing users couldn’t do with Gestures in version 1 was quickly accessing Google Assistant. That’s why we’ve added a new action: just hold the power button for 0.5s to activate Google Assistant.”
OnePlus is also “improving the camera behind the scenes, so you can expect to take even better pictures.” But it’s not clear if that means improvements to the camera hardware or software. Given my experiences—the camera is the OnePlus 6’s main weakness compared to other modern smartphone flagships—I’m hoping he means both.
OnePlus is also performing some deeper-level improvements aimed at making the device more power efficient.
“[We’re] working on a number of optimizations to the power consumption of OxygenOS, making use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845,” he notes. “One of the things they’ve added is an AI-based algorithm that will allow the phone to learn when you sleep, so it can minimize background usage and reduce power consumption accordingly.”
I’m looking forward to reviewing this handset. If the past is any indication, it should be a standout in a crowded field of excellent smartphones.