OnePlus has taken off by putting out the Final Build of its Developer Preview of Oxygen OS 11 in China yesterday. Hydrogen OS, or Oxygen OS minus Google Services, is the software that runs on OnePlus phones in China. We have come to love Hydrogen OS over the last few years, now running on top of Android 11. This brings with it new features such as a design overhaul, always-on display, Zen Mode 2.0, and more!
OnePlus’s Oxygen OS Track Record
Over time, OnePlus is known for Speed, and this also goes down to speedy updates. OnePlus was one of the first Android Manufacturers apart form Google to launch an Android 11 preview program and is also usually the first one to push out the latest version of Android to its mainstream devices.
This program right now is open for OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro users as it is the developer build. We can soon expect OnePlus to release an Open Beta for other users soon! Now, let’s talk about everything new in Oxygen OS/Hydrogen OS 11.
New features in Oxygen OS 11
1. Always On Display
As teased by OnePlus on Twitter, an always-on display will finally be a reality on OnePlus devices. This is a feature that was known as Ambient Display on OnePlus devices, but it turned off after a few seconds. The new update will allow the phone to enable showing this display for a very long time, hence “always-on”. There will be various clock styles and schedule settings for customizing the AOD as well.
What makes a step above is the ability to put a high-precision line drawing of any photo on the Always-On display. YES! OnePlus is using AI to convert any image you want to put as a high precision outline drawing on the Always On Display. We’re really excited to test how this works.
2. Design and UI Changes
With every update, manufacturers try to make their UI more appealing and user friendly, exactly what OnePlus tried to do as well. Oxygen OS 11 brings in a new and improved dark mode, which works on layering to improve visibility of UI elements. OnePlus has also introduced new fonts in Hydrogen OS 11 which can be expected to also make way into the global build. The preloaded Gallery and Weather apps have also been updated with new animations and better design. There’s even new wallpapers, icons, and ringtones for mixing up things!
3. Zen Mode 2.0
Zen Mode is OnePlus’s digital detox feature that enables users to lock down their phones for a limited time. Once locked out, none of the functionalities can be used, and it’s a great way of focussing on more important tasks. The new Zen Mode has got more themes to it, as well as some UI improvements. There are also options for setting the duration for longer periods compared to the older Zen Mode. There is even a multi-meditation feature that allows you to invite a friend to take a break!
4. One-Handed Use
With phones getting larger and out-of-hand(pun intended), manufacturers are trying to make UI changes for easier access to all parts of the screen. One UI from Samsung was first to do it, and we’re glad OnePlus has taken notes! Hydrogen OS images show whitespace left on top just like OneUI to make more used functions more accessible. We are yet to see if this is just for the settings app, or a system-wide setting. Either way, we’re glad OnePlus is finally working on this.
OnePlus has rolled out Hydrogen OS 11 in China yesterday and we can soon expect a global build as well. The official stable release will be scheduled sometime around October as track records suggest.