[Update: More hints] Before OnePlus 3 / 3T Android Pie update (9.0) there will be another Oreo OTA - company staff says

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

When it comes to regular software updates, only a handful of OEMs can actually compete with Google. Essential is the undoubted champion among them, but they have only one phone in their current inventory.

HMD Global operated Nokia is another worthy contender. They regularly provide monthly security updates to their phones – from dirt cheap ones to flagships. In terms of major version upgrades, they really set the benchmark high.

In both of the cases, the choice of maintaining a close-to-AOSP OS is a vital factor. OnePlus is slightly lagging behind, as the Chinese OEM prefers bi-monthly security updates.

As per the maintenance schedule, there will be 2 years of regular software updates from the release date of the phone (release dates of T variants would be considered), including new features, Android versions, Android security patches and bug fixes and an additional year of Android security patch updates every 2 months.

oneplus_software_maintenance_schedule
Click/Tap to zoom

The in-house OxygenOS skin from OnePlus has its own followership, mainly because of the nifty improvements on top of a clean and uncluttered interface.

OnePlus faced hard community backslash after the disastrous drama with OnePlus 2 updates. Since then, the smartphone maker substantially improved their OS development policies.

oneplus_2_nougat_helen
Even after this statement from an official, OnePlus 2 was stuck with Android Marshmallow and reached EOL.

In a previous article, PiunikaWeb discussed about the Android 9 Pie upgrade situation for OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. The phone duo were initially launched with Android Marshmallow, and received subsequent Nougat and Oreo upgrades.

The Shenzhen based OEM brought quite an element of surprise by announcing official Pie upgrade for these phones back in July 2018.

After internal discussions and evaluation, we have decided to focus our development resources on the Android P project instead of upgrading the device to Android 8.1, so that we can offer more exciting features and improvements for our OnePlus 3 and 3T users.

https://twitter.com/getpeid/status/1023964369552592901

Since then, official development was dried up. The phones got their last update back in December which was still based on Android 8.0.

A purported image of Android Pie based HydrogenOS (which is used in China as a replacement of OxygenOS) 9.0.0 update for OnePlus 3T was posted by a user in Chinese OnePlus forums.

oneplus_3t_h2os_9_speculation

The anomalies were fairly obvious, thus quickly spotted by the community.

oneplus_3t_h2os_9_speculation_errors
Image source: OnePlus forums

OnePlus Community Manager David Y. wanted to clarify the situation and put a limit on the rising rumors and speculations. He posted the following comment:

The next update will be a security patch update based on Android O, then Android Pie.

Can’t you guys just go and do something more meaningful than chasing the update…(facepalm)

“Wise people give their life an update every day.” —Benjamin Franklin

oneplus_3_3t_pie_update_schedule_david

Now that’s interesting! It was previously suggested that the engineers were dedicated to bring Pie on OnePlus 3/3T, which nullified the chance of getting even bi-monthly security patches.

oneplus_3_3t_pie_manu

In the context of the above, another Oreo update before the arrival of Pie does not make any sense. Or does it?

Caution: Wild speculations ahead…

Remember how OnePlus brought official Project Treble support on OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T, even though none of them was launched with Android 8 Oreo?

It was possible because:

  1. There is an unused partition on OnePlus 5 and 5T which can be converted into separate vendor partition.
  2. All of the HALs (Hardware Abstraction Layer) were made binderized by OnePlus.

Weeks before the official development from OnePlus, MoKee ROM developer chenxingyu was able to port unofficial Project Treble for OnePlus 5/5T.

In fact, OnePlus have a 1.4GB unused, unformatted partition “sdf6” on OnePlus 3, 3T, 5 and 5T. This partition was possibly left by the ODM company, OPPO. OPPO R11/R11s series have a simular partition layout with OnePlus, and OPPO really did release an OTA update to enable Project Treble for their products.

Based on the fact that the similar approach could also be used on OnePlus 3/3T, developers were partially successful to bring unofficial Project Treble support on these phones. One major caveat is still present: the current camera HAL provided by OnePlus on these phones are not fully binderized, thus features like video recording is broken.

XDA Recognized Developer dianlujitao, who is also official LineageOS maintainer of OnePlus 3/3T, previously hinted that OnePlus engineers were considering to bring Project Treble support.

oneplus_3_3t_treble_dianlujitao_1

Since then, OnePlus successfully crossed the partitioning barrier on OnePlus 5 and 5T. dianlujitao promised more updates on the matter.

oneplus_3_3t_treble_dianlujitao_2

Even after repeated denying, Project Treble is here on OnePlus 5 & 5T. Take it with a truckload of salt, but I guess OnePlus will do the necessary partitioning with the initial OTA (which will be based on Oreo) and then bring the sweet Pie along with a proper official Treble implementation.

All’s well that ends well!

Update (8 March, 2019)

David has dropped a number of new hints regarding the development of the Pie update. Head back to this article to know more about them.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.