OnePlus is asking customers to participate in a new contest which allows them to be involved in the development of new features for OxygenOS – the OEM's custom software based on Android OS. Particularly, fans of the brand have been invited to design a new software feature for an upcoming OxygenOS build, and the contest's winner will enjoy VIP treatment at a future OnePlus launch event where they will witness the feature's debut, all the while winning the smartphone they've helped create.
The contest winner will be revealed in mid-March, which could mean that this user-developed feature might be part of the upcoming OnePlus 7 and the VIP invite could be for the smartphone's launch event. OnePlus forum users willing to participate in the contest have been provided with a simplified product pitch template inspired by the process employed by the OEM's actual product managers.
The product pitch should include a number of specific details like an explanation of the software feature's main purpose. If the feature will be inspired by an existing smartphone then the participant is also required to explain in what way their implementation is superior. Other questions that need to be answered include what users will be targeted, what user value will be added by the feature, and each submission should include diagram sketches.
In principle, the user-created feature should contribute to ease of access, and OnePlus' staff including employees from the Product department, the UX Design department, and other developers will review the pitch in great detail and ask questions about how the new feature will interact with the existing software.
The process seems to be quite rigorous, with OnePlus comparing it to the show Shark Tank in which entrepreneurs get to pitch their ideas to industry giants. More importantly, the process seems to be designed to determine whether an idea that might sound good on paper could be just as useful when implemented in practice.
Given the timeframe, the winning user-submitted software feature will be part of an upcoming OxygenOS build based on Android 9 Pie. The first Pie-based version was OxygenOS 9.0 launched on the OnePlus 6 last September, and as yet the latest OS version is 9.0.3. It was introduced at the very end of 2018 for both the OnePlus 5 and 6 series. It provided improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth stability, included a new Android security patch, VoLTE support for French provider Bouygues Telecom, and a handful of improvements to the camera application.
This is not the first time OnePlus is inviting the community to participate in a public contest and last year users had a chance to review the OnePlus 6T as soon as it launched. The OEM's involvement with the community is part of what makes the OnePlus experience rather unique. Nevertheless, this is one of the more exciting contests from the perspective of software development, especially for users who already spend time providing feedback and suggestions through the OEM's official forums. This might be their time to shine.
Readers and OnePlus enthusiasts who might want to participate in this contest should make sure to review the terms and conditions imposed by the OEM. Participants will have to be at least 18 years of age and be located in an eligible region. The product pitches should be submitted to the Tech section of the official OnePlus forums and ideas submitted after February 22 will not be eligible.