The first quarter of 2016 has come and gone, and this phone is still on Lollipop.
As rumors swirl around the expected launch of the OnePlus 3, owners of the still-current-generation OnePlus 2 are wondering where their Marshmallow update is. Despite OnePlus originally guaranteeing a Marshmallow update for the phone by the end of March, here we are at the end of May with no official update in sight.
In a nice bit of transparency, OnePlus acknowledged that it's behind in pushing out an update to folks who are still using Lollipop, and released a "here's what we have so far" Beta build of Marshmallow for the OnePlus 2 back at the end of March. The Beta build naturally required downloading a package from OnePlus, unlocking your phone's bootloader and assuming the risk of running non-final software.
Frustrated and tired of waiting for an official update, I went through the process on my own OnePlus 2 a few weeks back on the original Beta release. As it turns out, the Marshmallow Beta from OnePlus is really good, and breathes new life into this affordable phone that's pushing up on one year old. Despite cries in the absolutely massive OnePlus forum thread about bugs of various kinds, things have been more-or-less stable, while also giving me a great glimpse into the future software OnePlus 2 owners can expect.
The Beta software not only brings all of the latest Marshmallow features like Doze and native fingerprint APIs, but it also retains the clean look and feel you expect from OnePlus phones (while even dropping some of the handful of changes found in Lollipop). The OnePlus 2 on Marshmallow is amazingly fast, from general interface performance to in-app experiences and multitasking. The camera has also substantially improved, with its interface and photo quality. In our head-to-head comparison with the Galaxy S7 edge, the OnePlus 2 with Marshmallow was toe-to-toe in performance, and beat Samsung's phone in battery life by a wide margin.
Unfortunately, the great improvements on offer in this Marshmallow Beta update just make it even more frustrating that it still hasn't rolled out to everyone else that isn't willing to deal with slightly unstable software or manually flashing update files.
Just a few days ago, on May 23, we got an updated Beta build — version 3.0.1 — that purports to be a bit closer to final, and if flashed manually actually puts you in line to receive a proper OTA to the stable build. But once again, that future OTA update to something stable is still "a couple weeks" away, meaning at this point folks who haven't flashed a Beta build are still looking at over three months of delay from the original Q1 2016 release window originally set out by OnePlus.
Software updates of any size are a difficult task to undertake, and big jumps for entire platform versions are even tougher. And while OnePlus could have handle this a bit better when it comes to communicating the slowdowns and reasons behind missing the targeted update window, at this point we all just want to see that Marshmallow update arrive. We deserve it.