On January 30, 2015, OnePlus officially announced the name of its new in-house Android skin: Oxygen OS. In the announcement post, it explained its reasoning with the company’s trademark pomp:
“As an element, Oxygen is the epitome of simplicity, yet it’s also extraordinarily powerful. Oxygen is all around us. It’s part of us and everything we do. It creates the water that carves out valleys and moves mountains. By itself, it’s simple and pure — a fundamental building block. But, as a part of something greater, it can do amazing things. Just like us.”
In other releases, the company used the term “breath of fresh air” to both play on the oxygen theme as well as dig at the popular skins of the time, which were mostly bloated messes. Unfortunately, the new skin got off to a shaky start with rollout issues, a sparse feature set, and a tricky upgrade process for folks who owned OnePlus devices with the original Cyanogen OS.
Eventually, though, Oxygen OS became a revelation. The skin offered a close-to-stock experience with numerous features cribbed from the custom ROM community. It was essentially pure Android, but with a few new tricks that most users appreciated. Its simplicity (and OnePlus’ relatively small hardware portfolio) allowed for incredibly fast updates, with an extended schedule compared to the competition.