OnePlus 7: first images of new redesign revealed ahead of release date

New features crowdsourced from the OnePlus community

OnePlus 7 Software Design

OnePlus last month kickstarted a competition that asked its community of users to pitch new software features for future smartphones à la Dragon's Den. After hundreds of submissions in the forums, the winning entry has now been announced. 

The entry, submitted by Léandro Tijink, will be coded by the OnePlus software team and included in a future update to OxygenOS – the Android-based operating system that runs on all modern OnePlus devices, including the forthcoming OnePlus 7, which is widely-tipped to launch in the coming months and boast an all-screen design and pop-up selfie camera.

The winning entry is centred around a new design language for OnePlus' OxygenOS mobile operating system, which will bring some cohesion across the design. 

Léandro Tijink explains: "As a result of consistency, the usability will be dramatically improved. Basic interactions like swiping, long-pressing and tapping always needs to be consistent so users will not be surprised that something unexpected happened because they thought something else will happen."

The OnePlus owner has published a series of high-resolution renders of the new OxygenOS design running on an unnamed handset with an all-screen design that tallies with the latest rumours about the forthcoming OnePlus 7.

The new OxygenOS design keeps the same clean, stripped-back appearance available on current OnePlus-branded hardware, but brings a new universal design language to the software, similar to what Samsung recently rolled-out with its OneUI system for Galaxy hardware, which we praised in our Galaxy S10 Plus review.

Léandro Tijink says users should be able to customise the accent colour – the colour used to highlight parts of the interface when they're selected by the phone owner – to bring a more personal touch to the handset.

One of the biggest changes to the new design is the focus of personalisation, which will be front-and-centre during the set-up process, and even lets OnePlus owners pick an accent colour that will permeate across the whole operating system...

...users will also be able to pick exactly which OnePlus apps are installed onto their device. There is also a new option to personalise your experience by inputting your name. According to the designer, "OnePlus is all about the community, getting people together and having the time of their lives. With the OnePlus 5, a letter from Carl was included in the box. Let's welcome everyone to OnePlus, by including a letter in Oxygen OS."

The OnePlus competition winner says: "Because of the consistency in design, it will be easier to say: those elements need to be blue, these need to be white, and this always needs to be red. This should also help with Dark Mode, because there are only so many colors, all used very consistently."

Léandro Tijink says this principle could also be used in future for system fonts, themes and icons across the OxygenOS. The Quick Settings dropdown has also been simplified in the new design to make it easier to access the most frequently used toggles. For exmaple, Tijink has removed the name of the mobile carrier from the dropdown to make the menu a little clearer since "you probably already know which carrier you have, so seeing that name all the time is pretty unnecessary".

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He has also outlined rules for OnePlus to follow going forward to ensure there is always consistency as well as a strong visual identity for OnePlus smartphones. They are as follows:

  1. There should only be a few font sizes, in my designs I used a total of around 6 different sizes, in a consistent manner.
  2. Icons in apps should always be the same size, wherever they are located.
  3. There should one be a few variations of each component. For example: a button with a background and a button without a background.
  4. Empty screens should always contain a title, description and illustration.
  5. All apps should respect the 4 themes: Colourful, Light, Dark and AMOLED.
  6. Descriptions should always be clear to the user, and explain what to do, for example: Press continue to customise widgets.
  7. Components should be able be re-used. This will not only make it easier down the road to develop new features, but it will keep the code base clean and consistent.

As well as seeing the new design brought to life and rolled-out to OnePlus handsets worldwide, Léandro Tijink has also won an all-expenses paid trip to the next hardware launch – believed to be the OnePlus 7, or all-new 5G-enabled device.