OnePlus’ flagship smartphones are popular not only for their speed, performance and accessible price but also for their developer friendly ecosystem. Since Google stopped its Nexus program, OnePlus devices have been de facto test devices for Android developers. With OnePlus devices, developers can not only unlock the bootloader easily but also retain their device warranty. This allows developers access to the kernel sources of the device and in the case of OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, the support was available from day 1 itself. The Chinese smartphone maker also runs a seeding program which supports custom development works on its devices.
OnePlus had recently taken a decision to stop its device seeding program, which meant that it would not offer devices to leading Android developers. After backlash from developer community, OnePlus clarified that the decision is not permanent and is instead looking to make changes to the criteria. Consequently, the company reopened the program but with a smaller selection of developers. The change in OnePlus’ strategy is already paying off with custom ROMs being made available for the OnePlus 6T.
According to XDA Developers, the OnePlus 6T has now received unofficial port of LineageOS 16.0, unofficial CarbonROM cr-7.0, unofficial CypherOS 7.0 and official ROM of crDroid. All of these ROMs are based on Android 9 Pie, which means you don’t only get a custom ROM with features not seen on OxygenOS or stock Android but also the latest base version.
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The footnotes observe that LineageOS 16.0 unofficial port does not support the in-display fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus 6T just yet. Even with the unofficial release of CarbonROM, the fingerprint sensor does not work. It suggests that developers are not able to integrate the in-display fingerprint sensor as effectively as the standard fingerprint sensor. It needs to be seen how the ecosystem of custom ROMs evolve going forward as OnePlus expands its device seeding program to include more developers.