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OnePlus 10 Pro and future phones won't use ColorOS — and that's great news

An official render of the OnePlus 10 Pro in Emerald Forest green and Volcanic Black
(Image credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus has backed out of a decision to join its software with that of Oppo’s. And that’s really good news if you’re a fan of the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro or the company’s other premium and mid-range phones.

This was one of several points mentioned in a forum post written by Pete Lau, OnePlus’ founder, as part of the company's MWC 2022 announcements. While the news of OnePlus 10 Pro’s global launch in March or its upcoming 150W charging tech is more obviously exciting, having OnePlus confirm that it’s keeping a key part of its identity is a relief that will have a big impact for several years to come.

After merging with stablemate Oppo last year, OnePlus fans feared their favorite company would drop its own OxygenOS version of Android and move to the Oppo-made ColorOS. While the two companies were initially planning to adopt a unified operating system, with the Chinese version of the OnePlus 10 Pro launching with ColorOS, feedback from OnePlus fans made it clear that this was an unpopular idea. As a business that makes a big deal about pleasing its dedicated users and involving them in discussions about phone features, it’s not a surprise that OnePlus decided to reverse course.

Oppo and OnePlus' two operating systems will now be built from a unified code base, but will remain separate. Specifically, OxygenOS is going to be a more global-focussed product than ColorOS, and will maintain its unique look and lighter design, as you can see in this graphic from the forum post.

A graphic from a OnePlus forum post explaining the relationship between the company's OxygenOS operating system and sister company Oppo's ColorOS. The graphic shows the two operating systems springing from the same codebase, described as fast and smooth, clean and reliable, lightweight, smart and feature rich, while adding that OxygenOS will be a lighter experience closer to stock Android design for global usage

(Image credit: OnePlus)

ColorOS, to be clear, isn’t a bad version of Android. Indeed the new Oppo Find X5 Pro is a fine phone that works well with it. But you can understand why OnePlus should maintain its own software, especially if the two brands continue to operate semi-independently.

As for OxygenOS 13, the Android 13 update for OnePlus' software, this will apparently be another update that focuses on the OnePlus’ oft-cited “fast and smooth” and “burdenless” goals. The OnePlus 10 Pro will use OxygenOS 12.1 though, rather than OxygenOS 13. 

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.