OnePlus has admitted to slowing down the performance of apps on the OnePlus 9 series of smartphones. The company claims it did so to conserve battery life and prevent heating issues.
Since Apple Inc. deliberately slowed down the performance of some iPhone models, the world of smartphones has become suspicious, to say the least. With OnePlus being the latest company to take a similar route, the Internet is once again divided.
OnePlus throttling performance of select apps on its “flagship killer” smartphones:
OnePlus, a Chinese company shot to fame by making “flagship killer” smartphones. Their devices had a top-end processor with ample RAM, and the company priced them very aggressively, at least initially.
The top-end processors inside the OnePlus smartphones helped set benchmark records. It also allowed the company to claim the “flagship killer” title. But now, noted website AnandTech, has discovered that the company is throttling the performance of several popular apps on its latest flagship devices, the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro.
OnePlus 9, 9 Pro Accused of Benchmark Manipulation; Delisted from Geekbench https://t.co/dA6WDbSlVY
— Phone Precision (@phone_precision) July 7, 2021
It is interesting to note that the benchmarking apps revealed completely different performances metrics. Needless to mention it was on par with other smartphones with the same CPU. However, testing within other apps revealed remarkably lower performance.
Intrigued by the substantial difference, extensive tests revealed the truth. OnePlus apparently has a list of apps which the company actively prevents from using the full power of the phone.
OnePlus caught throttling performance of apps like Chrome, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat on the OnePlus 9 Pro; Geekbench delists the OnePlus 9 series for benchmark manipulation https://t.co/N1BCxbKpHj
— Euro Journal – English News (@eurojournalENG) July 7, 2021
There’s no official list available. However, rigorous testing revealed OnePlus was throttling popular apps such as Google Chrome, Twitter, Microsoft Office, Zoom, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Discord, Strava, and more.
What makes the revelation truly concerning is that benchmarking apps, and a few games, reportedly have full access to the phone’s power.
OnePlus admits to “matching the app’s processor requirements with the most appropriate power”:
OnePlus has responded to the allegations with a statement, which essentially confirms the company is aware and actively involved in throttling the performance of a few apps. The company, however, insists it was doing so to prolong battery life and prevent heating issues.
“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.”
“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.”
It's disappointing to see OnePlus handsets making performance decisions based on application identifiers rather than application behavior. We view this as a form of benchmark manipulation. We've delisted the OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro from our Android Benchmark chart. https://t.co/G40wmWeg7o
— Geekbench (@geekbench) July 6, 2021
OnePlus’ actions strongly remind about Apple Inc.’s “Planned Obsolescence”. However, the iPhone maker throttled its own devices. OnePlus, on the other hand, is throttling the performance of some apps. Incidentally, even Huawei is reportedly guilty of such malpractice.
Incidentally, the Android operating system can have a simple toggle marked as “Performance Mode”. Users can selectively activate the same for some apps.
A few smartphone experts have argued that OnePlus could have offered the same, instead of secretly limiting performance. Not informing buyers, and acting unilaterally, while clearly hoping the customers won’t realize, does not bode well for any company.