Oppo has announced ColorOS 11, its version of Android 11, hot on the heels of Google’s full release of the software last week.
The latest version of Google’s software is always available to Google Pixel phones first, and it’s up to other Android manufacturers to work to get their skins ready to roll out as quickly as possible.
It means Oppo phones that receive the update will get features such as updated notification and privacy management, and Nearby Share, the new Android version of Apple AirDrop. But the new Android skin also brings a slew of Oppo-exclusive changes the company has built on top of Android 11.
They include an aesthetic change that Oppo said in a briefing call with media was intended to stick closer to stock Android than before. The Chinese company’s older software arguably changed too much of the basic Android experience, something ColorOS 11 appears to tone down.
Where ColorOS 11 looks most interesting is in the features it adds that other phones don’t have, such as three-finger translate. Using Google Lens, Oppo showed a demo where you simply swipe down on your phone screen with three fingers and it will intelligently translate whatever is on the page into a pre-selected language of your choice. It’s little tweaks like this where Android OEMs are increasingly trying to differentiate.
Oppo further stands out with its customisation options for ColorOS 11 that include a changeable always-on display and an algorithmic wallpaper creator based on a taken or uploaded image.
One of the best new features shows how Oppo is thinking deeply about everyday phone use. If you are receiving a lot of notifications at once, for instance from a group chat, your phone will usually ping out loud with the same ringtone. In order to stop this from getting annoying, ColorOS 11 has a feature called Tone Tunes that detects such notification onslaughts in real time and creates a melodic series of tones to play out a calm tune. Top marks there.
Some new features are just Oppo playing catch up though, with features such as pop-out windows for apps and the ability to schedule dark mode for different time of day. A white noise app with ambient sounds from different cities could be useful but feels a little superfluous for most people.
The main downside to all this is how quickly Oppo phones will receive ColorOS 11. It’s currently only available in beta for the Find X2 and Find X2 Pro, the company’s most expensive phones. Its Reno 3 and 4 series will get it later in the year, with models sold in Australia and New Zealand-sold such as the Oppo A72 starting to receive the update in December.
Older phones like the Reno 10x Zoom and other Reno models will get ColorOS 11 in Q1 and Q2 2021.