OnePlus gears up for Android 12-based OxygenOS 12 with new beta

The company doesn't seem to be adopting Google's 'Material You' guidelines

After Google released the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version of Android 12, OnePlus also dropped a blog post outlining some of the new features users can expect with the latest update.

This includes a revamped notes app, several new design tweaks, improvements to system search and a new work/life balance feature that’s similar to the iOS 15’s Focus mode.

At first glance, this seems to be an above-average OnePlus update. Still, the blog post doesn’t mention if OnePlus is adopting Google’s Material You design principles, which is a shame considering how great it is with Google’s Pixel. That gripe aside, it makes sense that OnePlus might be behind on adopting the new guidelines since it revamped its visual identity quite heavily last year.

New design, sort of


The company says that it’s using a new design that plays with light and shadows to create space in its apps, and it uses the recently updated Zen Mode app as an example of this. To me, this is a bit of a step backwards in design, especially since the company pushed into new space with the quite pleasing and flat OxygenOS 11 update. Only time will tell if OnePlus can pull off the new aesthetic without looking too much like the old skeuomorphic iOS apps.

In my time with it so ar the update feels like a different device. It’s not that much different but it’s noticeable and doesn’t exactly feel like OnePlus anymore. Things like notifications seem improved, but there are fewer colour customizations now and a new font that makes the phone feel a little less OnePlus than it did before.

Even when you choose the home screen launcher for the phone now you’re choosing between Oppo’s Color OS and any other launchers you might have installed on the phone. It appears that the shift to Android 12, was a very clear shift off OxygenOS as we knew it before.

The company will also start using a new set of icons and symbols throughout its operating system with bolder looks that OnePlus says should be more universally recognized worldwide. The company also added shadows and lighting effects to some of its app icons. This change is relatively subtle but shows how the company plans to add depth with shadows throughout the OS.

New system search

The most exciting change for me is the launch of OnePlus Scout in global markets. This is OnePlus’ system search feature that’s advanced enough to search for files and the web. It’s been available in India for a while now, so it’s exciting to see OnePlus bring it to the rest of the world.

The updated system search functionality on Android 12 is a lot better in general. It’s unclear if OnePlus is rebranding the feature or if it’s actually using its own software.

Work/life balance

This is another feature that has been available in India but is finally going global with OxygenOS 12. This feature allows users to set two notification profiles on their phones so they won’t be bothered by work notifications after work or play notifications during the workday.

This mode can even be set up so that it switches based on where you are.

Release date

OnePlus isn’t sharing much about the release date for this software update other than the fact that it’s coming to the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro today. You can download the update now, but be warned — there are often lots of bugs in OnePlus software updates.

OnePlus says that it will come to devices as old as the OnePlus 7T at a later date. OnePlus has been promising faster updates now that it’s fully incorporated within Oppo, but only time will tell if it will be able to follow through on this promise.

Source: OnePlus