Secretly throttling is never okay

Don’t let phone makers normalize it

last Tuesday, Anandtech OnePlus was caught doing the previously unimaginable while downplaying the performance of its new flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 9 Pro. Given the “inexplicable” slowdown, search for publications Phone was changing the laundry list of popular apps away From the high-performance core of its Snapdragon 888. Company excuse? All this was an attempt to save battery life.

Today, OnePlus is doubling down on that earlier statement with a long forum post, where the company’s reasoning seems to be justified. “In recent years, the performance of smartphone SoCs has reached a point where their power often exceeds in certain scenarios,” writes OnePlus, essentially attributing Qualcomm. very good at your job.

“With this in mind, our team has shifted our focus from simply providing great performance to delivering the expected performance from our devices while reducing power consumption and heat dissipation,” OnePlus said.

that would be fine! Now, here are three problems with seemingly convincing logic:

First, OnePlus has sold devices based on raw speed for years, and despite the OnePlus 9 Pro’s focus on Hasselblad-branded cameras, it’s no exception. The company’s entire tagline is “Never Settle” and the company has promised an “impeccably ‘fast and smooth’ experience” from the OnePlus 9 Pro. “You’ll be one step ahead of the curve,” the company assured users during its launch presentation, calling the phone’s Snapdragon 888, “the best of all dragons in the kingdom.”

The OnePlus 9 Pro promises “ultimate performance” from its new Snapdragon chip.

second, if Anandtech That’s right, you seem to be settling in here. The publication found the phone less responsive than the Galaxy S21 Ultra in side tests, despite having poor battery life, both using the same chips and the same screen technology. The slowdown also applies to “everything of any level of popularity in the Play Store”.

Third and foremost, OnePlus Didn’t tell anyone. And now, the company is trying to make it sound like the practice of covertly throttling a device is somehow just fine.

This is a dangerous idea. If we establish that a phone manufacturer can silently strangle on behalf of the user, what should stop them from doing so whenever they want? For years, conspiracy theories have swirled about how gadget makers slow down or otherwise cripple devices to force their users to upgrade, and many of them have been dismissed as just that. Were gone – conspiracy theories – until it was revealed that Apple had actually done something similar in 2017.

At the time, Apple also had a good excuse about how its throttling was saving your phone’s battery, but that didn’t change the fact that the company hid it from users, causing an unknown number of them to lose their battery life. Upgraded the phone first. need of. The company negotiated twice (once for $500 million, and once for $113 million) and added the ability to turn off the throttling, but Apple still largely generalized the idea that it worked fine. and brought the controversial processor throttling feature to later phones as well. .

When OnePlus realized that it wanted to shift its focus away from “just providing sheer performance”, it’s time to tell us it was on stage, before people bought the phone, and packed it as a feature. Must go which you can turn on and leave.

Such is the relationship expected of the company’s power-user fans with OnePlus. That is the brand that OnePlus has created. Now it is in danger of erosion.

Let’s not pretend this is normal or acceptable for OnePlus, or any other manufacturer.

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