Inside every OnePlus device box, there is a message from the OnePlus team that simply says: “Created Together With Our Fans.” Some customers might think that this is a marketing logo along with “Never Settle,” but OnePlus are adamant: they mean it. This is something that the whole organization live by and the company describes it as “a philosophy that pervades everything we do, including software.” And now as OnePlus reaches the two year anniversary, the company has reached out to highlight what, exactly, it means when they describe their devices as created together with their fans. OnePlus states that they began doing this by releasing community builds for the OnePlus 2, which they have since expanded to include the OnePlus X and OnePlus 3 as well.
By way of background, OnePlus are a small China-based smartphone retailer with a big plan. They have produced four devices to date: the original OnePlus One, the OnePlus 2, the OnePlus X and the latest device being the OnePlus 3. With the exception of the OnePlus X, each device was designed to be a flagship model in every sense of the word and to be comparable with mainstream manufacturer devices with one important difference: the price. The OnePlus 3 is available for £329 in the United Kingdom, whereas the Samsung Galaxy S7, with half the internal storage, is available from £569. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge starts from £639. OnePlus offer a device close to half the price of some flagship models for a similar specification. However, there is one other difference we should discuss and that is the software on the device: OnePlus has a reputation for taking their time when it comes to software updates. This does need to be put into the context of mainstream manufacturers taking several months to update their devices to the latest version of Android, but OnePlus see this as a challenge they must rise to. Their stated ambition is to release stable software updates for the OnePlus 3, OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X once every month or two. However, for customers wishing to help OnePlus improve and refine their software, or simply wishing to get the new features ahead of the queue, OnePlus offer a closed beta and an open beta.
The Closed Beta typically consists of around sixty testers and typically receives updates every week. The closed beta software could be potentially experimental and has a chance of not working as OnePlus expected: OnePlus’ objective here is to get initial feedback on the software and their new ideas. One stage away from the Closed Beta is the Open Beta, where customers are free to join and use the new software. OnePlus aim to get a couple of updates out a month and this software typically consists of re-worked Closed Beta releases. And of course there is also the Official Release cycle, which devices are on automatically and here, OnePlus aim to get updates out at least every other month. However, OnePlus are keen to highlight that they still appreciate customer feedback at this point. It’s through OnePlus’ two stage beta process that the company is aiming to keep to their update schedule for their three supported devices.