Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • OnePlus is now installing the Amazon app on the OnePlus 8T through a software update.
  • Oxygen OS 11.0.1.2 adds the shopping app to the flagship in India.
  • OnePlus says it did so owing to its long-standing partnership with Amazon.

Update: October 19, 2020 (10:30 AM ET): OnePlus explained its Amazon app sideloading practice in a statement to Android Authority:

As part of our long standing partnership with Amazon, the Amazon Shopping App has been pre-loaded on OnePlus devices since the launch of the OnePlus 3 in India. For the OnePlus 8T 5G, we were unable to install the stable Android 11 version of the application at the time of the launch. Due to this reason we had to update the Amazon application in the latest OTA update for devices in India only. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.


Original article: October 19, 2020 (6:49 AM ET): It seems OnePlus is treading dangerously close to bloatware territory again with its latest software update for the OnePlus 8T. The Indian model of the phone is now receiving the Oxygen OS 11.0.1.2.KB05DA update that strangely brings with it the Amazon shopping app.

We first got wind of the update through Twitter and user posts on the OnePlus forums. We also checked our own OnePlus 8T review unit in India, and sure enough, the 389MB update is installing the Amazon app on the phone.

OnePlus 8T Amazon app Oxygen OS Update Changelog

It seemed OnePlus was on the road to redemption when it confirmed last week that it wouldn’t pre-install Facebook bloatware on the OnePlus 8T like it did on the OnePlus 8 series and the OnePlus Nord. The phones packed the Facebook App Installer, Facebook Services, and Facebook App Manager as part of the system apps. They couldn’t be uninstalled and as a result, OnePlus received a ton of flak from users.

Thankfully, the Amazon app that comes with the latest OnePlus 8T Oxygen OS update can be uninstalled. There are also no other background apps associated with Amazon that can’t be removed from the phone. It’s worth noting that our review unit also came with the Amazon Music app pre-installed (yet removable).

Adding bloatware via OTA updates

The latest move by OnePlus sure seems like one that would benefit the company. Pre-loading third-party apps or installing them via system updates can present a monetization opportunity for smartphone OEMs.

It’s also worth noting that the OnePlus 8T recently launched in India as an Amazon exclusive. The e-commerce platform heavily promoted its launch event, so it’s not surprising that the phone maker returned the favor. However, we’re not aware of any deal between the two companies or why OnePlus decided to forcefully push the Amazon app on the OnePlus 8T through an OTA.

Nevertheless, the update might not sit well with users. No one likes to see unwanted apps being loaded on their phones without their explicit consent.

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It also begs the question if we’ll see more of this behavior in future Oxygen OS updates. Is OnePlus simply circumventing the issue of pre-loaded bloatware by adding third-party apps through OTA updates later? We’ll just have to wait and watch.

In the meantime, you can view the full changelog of the Oxygen OS 11.0.1.2 update for the OnePlus 8T below.

System

  • Newly added Amazon shopping App, provide a better shopping experience
  • Optimized unlock experience for Ambient

Display

  • Optimized power consumption for the phone

Camera

  • Optimized the Nightscape Mode for video, improving the imaging quality
  • Optimized the accuracy of white balance under different settings
  • Improved the app’s stability

Network

  • Improve the stability of communication functions
  • Silently Added Features
  • Canvas AOD now available (Beta)
  • Added Horizon Light option under Customisation

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