Almost all major Android manufacturers have their own custom Android user experience, a customization that has long been blamed for the slow rollout of updates. That is why OEMs that stick to a more or less pure Android experience have always been held in high regard, especially considering how few of them there are. Along with the now-defunct Essential and HMD Global’s Nokia, OnePlus has long been one of those touted to be faithful to the stock Android UI. That, however, won’t be the case anymore soon and OnePlus is explaining why its OxygenOS is making such a big change.
OxygenOS 11, the company’s next big iteration of its own Android UX, is getting more than just a simple facelift of icons and themes. It is rearranging UI elements in such a huge way that it no longer matches the stock Android layout that you’d see, for example, on a Google Pixel or Nokia phone. Unsurprisingly, the changes haven’t been sitting well with some long-time OnePlus fans and the company is now explaining why it’s making a potentially controversial change.
In a nutshell, OnePlus is pointing to the trend of larger Android screens as the main reason for the changes. It also notes that stock Android isn’t suited for such large screens, despite Google having launched its own “XL” size phones. Not only is there a lot of unused space (that doesn’t add to the “breathability” of the UI), it’s also not easy to reach important parts of the UI given how most people hold and use their phones.
The company’s studies showed that most users hold their phones from the bottom, which means that the range of flexible motion and reach is mostly confined to the bottom half of the screen. Because of that, OnePlus decided to move many of the important parts of the interface, like tabs or even the scrollable area, to that area of the display for easier one-handed use.
To some OnePlus users, the new OxygenOS 11 design is pretty much a copy of Samsung’s One UI. That wouldn’t be surprising since Samsung also based its redesign around those very same principles and goals. Needless to say, it isn’t sitting well with some OnePlus fans who stuck with the manufacturer exactly because of its stock Android experience but there are also those that seem to be excited for it as well.