Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has been under a lot of scrutiny of late. Be it its slow and steady merger with its parent company Oppo or even the recent announcement around the OxygenOS, one of its USPs, the company has been at the receiving end of a barrage of questions from its fans who seem to have been unhappy with the progress.
Now the company was caught throttling the performance of a lot of popular apps available on Android. Apps including the likes of Chrome, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, Zoom, WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Amazon, Linkedin, Netflix etc.
These applications were only allowed limited access to the powerful Snapdragon 888 chipset that powers the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro compared to the benchmarking apps which were allowed unrestricted access to the CPU. This resulted in getting these phones delisted from the Geekbench platform.
Now the company has admitted that this was done deliberately and has suggested this was done to “improve the performance of the device for our users” and “improve the performance of the device for our users.
In response to TechRadar’s query, the company via a prepared statement said, “Our top priority is always delivering a great user experience with our products, based in part on acting quickly on important user feedback. Following the launch of the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro in March, some users told us about some areas where we could improve the devices’ battery life and heat management. As a result of this feedback, our R&D team has been working over the past few months to optimize the devices’ performance when using many of the most popular apps, including Chrome, by matching the app’s processor requirements with the most appropriate power.
It justified the decision by saying, "This has helped to provide a smooth experience while reducing power consumption. While this may impact the devices’ performance in some benchmarking apps, our focus as always is to do what we can to improve the performance of the device for our users.”
Why settle for less?
While the company feels it is right to limit the performance of the applications that would be most commonly used by the customers, however, it is wrong on many counts. It is disturbing that the company only bothered to respond to users when publications started highlighting the manipulation.
Moreover, this seems to have been done post the devices were reviewed by most tech publications globally. Hence, no one could report the anomaly. Besides, throttling the apps gave the company a few brownie points that it has acted quickly on the feedback received, rather than actually solving the real issue.
Also, giving unrestricted access to the benchmarking apps helps in selling the device to a wider customer base, however, these customers were never able to experience the actual prowess of the device that was advertised to them.