OnePlus has long been considered as one of the most developer friendly smartphone makers in the market. The unique selling point of the first smartphone by the company, the OnePlus One was the fact that users could easily unlock the bootloader and not void the warranty of the device. In fact, even installing custom ROMs on OnePlus devices did not affect the warranty of the devices. The company rose to fame and gradual mainstream with the help of its loyal set of users. A healthy portion of those users loved tinkering with their devices. To recall, another key feature of the first device was it ran CyanogenOS out of the box, the commercial version of popular custom ROM CyanogenMod.
The company also set itself apart by actively supporting independent developers by sending them free devices for development. However, according to recent reports and tweets by notable custom ROM and kernel developers, it looks like OnePlus has finally shut down its device seeding program for developers. This information was initially reported by Android Authority which attributed the report to an anonymous tip. The report also noted a “recent shift in the management” of the development seeding program.
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This won’t really change things for a majority of OnePlus users, be it users who stick to the software out of the box or the ones who like to flash custom ROMs on their devices. However, in the long run, custom ROM lovers may begin to see a smaller number of developers working on ROM or Kernel development for future OnePlus devices.
Beyond the obvious custom ROM development, this move is also likely to affect the security of the devices. The reason for this is because these developers have been an important instrument in finding and reporting security exploits in the software along with bugs even before anyone pointed out the bugs in public.
We reached out to OnePlus for an official comment on the move. The company has no official comment about the matter at the time of writing. We will add the comment as and when the company releases a statement in response to this move.