First Open Beta for 7T-series is out, but there's a catch
Update 13th March 17:30 IST: OnePlus acknowledged different region builds for Open Betas but however still posted the incorrect links for 7T EU and 7T Global. See the screenshots below.
We notified them about this.
Original article is preserved as below
If you don't have a 7T or a 7T Pro, we apologize for this news notification. However, we think it's an important read, because OnePlus has made a very big mistake, and you should be aware of it.
On 12th March 2020, at 15:39 IST, OnePlus made a forum post announcing the first Open Beta for the 7T-series.
We normally don't publish a news article announcing a new update, since you can get notified via the app anyway. However, this time, it's important that we share more information about this release, because there seems to be confusion.
TLDR: OnePlus, as usual, made mistakes and didn't clarify anything - leaving everyone confused. Thankfully, the OU team, along with Recognized Contributor aer0zero0 from XDA, made sure to investigate and get to the bottom of the confusion. Don't worry, you can (and should) use OU and get the correct ZIP for your device (make sure you select the "Open Beta" track from the "Settings" page, and enable "Advanced Mode" as well). Read further to understand the difference between different update ZIPs.
This first caught our attention when we noticed a comment on the forum post, which claimed that India-specific features that were available on stable (Cloud Service, Red Cable Club, etc) had vanished from the Open Beta.
In case you're unable to see the above screenshot (imgur has rate-limits), click here.
We then checked the support website, and found two very unusual things:
- On the Indian support website, the Open Beta ZIP was completely different. For starters, the build letter was different (Y, instead of W). Additionally, the file was about 300 MB smaller. When we downloaded these two ZIPs (Y and W), we noticed that the Y build had India-specific features, but the W one didn't, despite being a larger file
- On other country-specific support websites, the relevant ZIPs had the same build letter and build date, but the MD5 checksum was different - indicating that the ZIP linked on OnePlus' post differed from what was available on the support website.
This made us wonder, if OnePlus' forum post was incomplete (as it only had links to a single ZIP for each device). Turns out, it wasn't just incomplete, it was the wrong ZIP as well.
Previously, OB releases only had a single ZIP available, which could be flashed to any region.
This time, instead of linking the global ZIP, they linked the ZIP for EU devices. Additionally, they didn't include links for all regions: global, EU, and India.
In other words, OnePlus made a very big mistake, and hasn't fixed this mistake even 10 hours later (at the time of publishing this article). Users, after seeing the forum post, have already installed EU firmware on their devices, even if they're not part of EU region. EU builds generally have fewer features (lack of audio equalizer, for example). And as we've seen in the above screenshot, Indian users lost features that were introduced in stable releases.
Not only that, the country-specific support websites were listing incorrect ZIPs. EU support websites were linking to global OB ZIP, while global support website was linking to EU ZIPs. What a mess of a company OnePlus is.
Here's the proof:
Upon analyzing the Y and W ZIPs, we found that the only difference was in the opproduct.img file.
This is the Indian (Y) build:
This is the EU (W) build, that was linked on the forum post:
This is the global (W) build:
You can see how the Indian (Y) build has additional APKs whose names reveal their specificity to India. The global (W) build has Google Pay bundled, while the EU (W) build doesn't. Additionally, the etc/sysconfig/eea_v1_search_chrome.xml file is only present in the EU (W) build.
Even though this research and its findings are enough to figure out which ZIP is for which region, we went ahead and checked build.prop as well. For the unfamiliar, this file contains important metadata about your device, that can be used to distinguish certain features.
We found the following information being present in the build.prop file for the EU (W) build, confirming that this build was, in fact, an EU build after all. We checked other ZIPs, and none of the build.prop files in those ZIPs had these two lines:
So, turns out, there are region-specific ZIPs for Open Beta, which was never the case previously. OnePlus should have done a better job of informing this change, so that users don't install the incorrect ZIP by mistake.
The Oxygen Updater team left a few comments on that post, asking for clarification, however we haven't received any response from OnePlus yet.
For the time being, we've added the correct W builds for global/EU devices, and the Y build for Indian devices. Using OU seems to be the best way to update to Open Beta as of now. You can use the app to get the correct ZIP for your device. Let's hope OnePlus corrects their mistake soon.
Thumbnail credit: OnePlus
Feel free to check support websites yourself, and analyze the differences of all the different ZIPs. If you have any questions, email us at [email protected] or join our Discord server.