Oxygen Updater in 2023

Our yearly tradition continues: a look at the project's growth so far and predictions about the future
Adhiraj S. Chauhan

This article was written on 1st January, 2023. All analytical data like install counts, active users, etc. are calculated using Google Play's statistics for this app. This article will not be updated with newer counts, as it's meant to reflect the state of the app on this date.

Hey everyone,

It's 2023! For the sake of complete transparency, we've been writing such articles since 2018, and wanted to share an overview of the past year and highlight how Oxygen Updater will be at your service in 2023. If you'd like to view last year's new year article, click here.

Looking back at 2022

2020 saw a major design overhaul, which was met with a lot of praise, and was covered by Android Police as well. 2021 saw majority of the work being prioritized towards our internal proprietary software: ~30 software releases across the project's internals, which we ramped up to ~60 in 2022. We also unveiled our brand-new website back in March 2022 — if you're new to our community or otherwise missed this news, have a look at an article we wrote about it (includes comparisons with the old one). The app received a lot of love, with a total of 12 updates (up from 7 in 2021) which included:

  • Important features: support for devices running on the new ColorOS-based OxygenOS (OOS12 onwards; including workarounds for OS bugs caused by OnePlus' inconsistencies)
  • Bug fixes: rare crashes, app's "System" theme not always working as expected, "Device" tab not always showing the correct CPU frequency, and other minor things
  • Improved UX: better article notifications, clickable links in our install guides, reduced download/install size, noticeably faster startup time, etc.

New translations were added to the app as well: Chinese (Traditional/Taiwan), Czech, and Macedonian. Countless others were updated, thanks to our open-source community. If you'd like to add a new language to the app, or improve an existing one, feel free to submit a PR.

Here are some growth comparison metrics for 2022:

We peaked at ~405K active users in March, April, and October 2022, while our lowest was ~350K in July. Comparing it to 2021, our peaks & dips are much closer together (difference of ~55K vs ~80K last year), which could be seen as an indicator of the app's consistency across its entire user base: performance, experience, frequency-of-use, helpfulness, etc. We crossed our 1M downloads milestone back in October 2020, and right now we're at 2M+ downloads. Who knows, if we're lucky we might cross the next milestone by the end of this year (5M) — especially if you help us by suggesting this app to people you know :D.

Based on past metrics, we usually see a spike around March/April and October/November, likely due to the launch of new OnePlus devices and new Android version releases. The app is used a lot, almost every moment someone is opening or refreshing the app. This wouldn't have been possible without you, our trusted users. Thank you so much for believing in Oxygen Updater, and having unwavering confidence in the new team. In the past, we've talked about organizing giveaways for you, but logistics is a nightmare to plan around. Stay tuned for that!

OxygenOS devices & updates

Our team added numerous OS updates to the app so that everyone could update ASAP. We've been helping our users navigate their way through OnePlus' absolute mess of OTA rollouts, most notably the 7-series bugged OOS12 builds (TLDR: OnePlus separated India out into its own regional build, but the "global" build, that rolled on the stable track, used the Indian model number for some reason, which led to users experiencing no network coverage amongst other bugs). We worked round the clock to offer support to disgruntled users, to help them solve issues, including rolling back to older OxygenOS versions, even though this is supposed to be OnePlus' job & responsibility.

Every year we hope OnePlus doesn't make such mistakes again (especially after the merger with Oppo), but every year there's something new. Last year, they moved many new devices to Google OTA instead of their own. The 9-series devices were also moved to GOTA on OOS12. While their in-house system had a lot of issues, Google's is far worse for a specific user cohort: the ones with a rooted device, or an unlocked bootloader. Google OTA (at least, the way it's configured by OnePlus) doesn't return full ZIPs for a lot of devices, which means these users can't update their phones unless they unroot first.

It seems like they learned from their mistakes, because in 2022 (post Oppo-merger), they brought EU & India back onto their own (i.e. Oppo) OTA systems. However, it's not all good news. Global/NA is still on Google OTA for some reason, which still has the same issues as outlined above. Also, they made the local/manual update process more convoluted, which has been met with disappointment, to nobody's surprise.

Looking forward to 2023

Last year our main focus was the new website, which went very well. We've received some feedback from our users, and we'll be working on incorporating their ideas soon. After several years of development, our app and all the accompanying internal tools have reached a state of maturity, so most of the work has been to ensure quality remains top-notch. For example, for the past few months, our app has been 99.99% crash-free according to Firebase/Google Play metrics. This alone is a huge improvement, as in 2021 we saw this to be reported as anywhere between 98% to 99.5%.

This year, the first order of business is to migrate the app's code base to Jetpack Compose (work is already underway), which should simplify development, improve performance, and reduce the app's download/install size significantly. At the time of writing this article, the latest release is v5.10.1, which weighs in at 7.24 MB (full APK), or 5.62 MB (Play Store). This is already a small number — especially when compared to other apps — but we love chasing efficiency wherever we can. That way, our users benefit from better experiences. With Compose, this could very well be halved with no loss in the app's functionality.

The focus will be on continued growth and active development, as well as planning exciting things for the community. We'll announce these exciting things on our Discord server, and we'll also release a news post so that users who aren't on Discord don't miss out.

Additionally, we will continue our the precedent set by 2021 and focus our energy on improving the articles we publish, and help our users out by ensuring they always have access to the latest information no matter what. In 2020 we published 86, which was a huge ramp-up from 2019's measly 34 articles, which was eclipsed by 2021's 102 high-quality articles.

2022 saw 75 articles being published. It's a much smaller number, yes, but we prioritized updating existing articles with new information rather than creating completely new ones. This was an experiment to see what our users prefer: 1 article as a source-of-truth with all the necessary/important info (2022), or multiple different ones that may have outdated content (2021). Do let us know via email which do you prefer, or if you have any general feedback about our coverage. After all, we write them for you, and sometimes we're the first to report on quite a few things, e.g. OnePlus Watch (Harry Potter edition), 9-series colorways, new device wallpapers (9-series, Nord CE, Nord 2, 9RT), Spotify setup integration, Nord 2 Pac-Man edition, and so many more.

We're planning to open up positions for freelance journalists this year, so if you're interested please drop a mail or send a message in our Discord server.

Some other tidbits:

  • The Oxygen Updater server, domain name & infrastructure is paid by revenue we receive from Play Store IAPs (thank you to all our users who purchased the ad-free version!), as well as ad revenue. While we make use of the funds we've received so far, if you feel like donating to us, you can use this Patreon link.
  • Cyanogen Update Tracker, the predecessor of this app which did the same for Cyanogen OS devices, was supposed to be shut down in July 2019, but we postponed it to August 2020, and then September 2021. We'll keep it running as long as possible (it costs €30/year), giving our users enough time to buy a new device. We'll probably shut it down when usage declines — it has 500K downloads, but active users are around 1400.
    • A shutdown of Cyanogen Update Tracker does not affect Oxygen Updater at all.
    • If you (or anyone you know) still use a Cyanogen OS device on an old OS version, tell them to use Cyanogen Update Tracker to update it NOW.
    • Cyanogen devices include the OnePlus One, most Wileyfox'es, some YU's and some other older phones. See https://cyanogenupdatetracker.com for a complete list of supported devices.

Wrapping it up

We hope you've enjoyed using Oxygen Updater so far. We wish you a Happy New Year! Cheers to a bright future in 2023 & beyond, and stay safe!