OnePlus originally planned to ship a OnePlus 9T this fall, but the firm now says that it will instead hold off until early 2022 for a new flagship.
“This year we will not be launching a T-series product,” OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said at a roundtable interview with bloggers, as reported by The Verge. This is the first time in over five years that OnePlus hasn’t offered a mid-season T-series refresh of its flagship smartphones; the first was the OnePlus 3T from 2016.
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That said, OnePlus’s strategy has changed a lot over time, and it’s changing again as I write this. The firm originally just offered a single, flagship-class handset each year, or what OnePlus called a “flagship killer.” And then it switched to the T-series strategy in which it would ship a second flagship-class handset late each year. But in more recent years, OnePlus has expanded its lineup dramatically, and it now offers several models ranging from flagship-class—like the OnePlus 9 Series handsets from early 2021—to various midrange offerings. Maybe too many, to be honest.
But there are other changes happening at OnePlus: The firm announced in June that it was basically merging with OPPO, its parent company. And, more troubling to OnePlus fans, that it would be merging and consolidating some of the technology the two firms use, including the Android-based operating systems that each uses.
On that note, Lau said at the roundtable that the early 2022 OnePlus flagship(s) would be the first to come with a new unified operating system, most likely named ColorOS (which is what OPPO calls its version of Android) and not OxygenOS (which is what OnePlus calls its version of Android).
OxygenOS is one of the key advantages of OnePlus handsets today, thanks to its many efficiencies and optimizations, so it’s unclear how this change will impact users. But Lau claims the unified OS will be the best of both worlds, combining the “fast and smooth” and “clean and lightweight” nature of OxygenOS with the more “reliable” and “smart and feature-rich” ColorOS.