When you buy a new OnePlus smartphone, you might notice this important little message printed on the side of the box: “Created Together With Our Fans.” It’s not marketing nonsense; it’s a phrase that we live by. It’s a philosophy that pervades everything we do, and software is a big part of what we do. Back when we first started our software journey almost two years ago, you guys actually gave OxygenOS its name. It’s been a group effort since the very beginning.
You’ve probably noticed new “Community Builds” for OxygenOS popping up on the forums over the past few months. What are Community Builds? Why do they exist? What’s going on with OxygenOS? Solid questions, my curious friends. Here’s the short answer: Community Builds represent one component of our new, expanded software beta program. It all goes back to that “Created Together” thing. We want to make sure that every feature, tweak, and addition to OxygenOS passes the ultimate test: the scrutiny of, well, you.
To help accomplish this goal, OxygenOS now exists simultaneously in three different “streams”:Closed Beta, Open Beta, and Official Release. At every step of the way, we collect general feedback, bug reports, and feature requests directly from you, our community. Here’s how it works:
(~4 updates per month)
This is where all OxygenOS code begins. Sometimes, these builds are referred to as “alpha builds.” Here, our software team tests new (and sometimes experimental) code and features. The big goal here is to get initial feedback on new ideas. These builds lack the stability of polished software, but offer early access. New code and features often come to Closed Beta builds weeks or months before going public. In order to receive Closed Beta builds, you have to apply to be a certified Closed Beta tester. This is quite an elite crew, though, as we usually only accept about 60 closed beta testers at any given time.
Open Beta (Community Builds)
(~2 updates per month)
Anyone can try these builds (including you). Once a new feature or change passes initial quality tests in Closed Beta, they’ll be added to Open Beta. The software here is much more stable and less likely to include major bugs, but still not quite ready for final release. To make a long story short, Open Beta is the second, semi-public step for feedback and bug testing, ensuring that only the best code makes it to official release.
Official Release (OTA)
(~1 update every 1-2 months)
This is the final step. Once code has undergone several rounds of internal and community feedback throughout the Closed and Open Beta programs, the best of the best is released on the official version of OxygenOS. These are the updates that you automatically receive via OTA if you don’t opt in to any sort of beta program. In the nutshell, these are the builds that go out to all of our users across the globe. While these builds are stable and polished, the feedback doesn’t stop. We still continue to collect and analyze feature requests and bug reports, and we actually have some big things in the works to make the feedback process even better.
What does this all mean for me?
Well, it depends. If you do nothing, you’ll continue getting official OTAs, which are fully-tested and stable. And, now you know the extensive level of community input and testing that takes place before a single line of code ever reaches your device. If you want to check out brand new features (and aren’t afraid of some little bumps along the way), you can flash an Open Beta (Community) Build. Here, you can make your voice heard and directly contribute to our software program.
We hope this post helped to shine a little light on what we’re doing and how much we value your input. OxygenOS is a true passion project for OnePlus, and we couldn’t do it without you. Let’s keep creating things, together.
Source: OnePlus Forums
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