OnePlus have been rumoured to be showing off a concept phone at CES, which they also subtly teased themselves. Overnight they revealed more details about the new concept phone and if it is the future of smartphones, bring it on.
Overnight we had OnePlus CEO Pete Lau Tweeting out that the “future was hiding in plain sight” with the hashtag #InvisibleCamera included in a retweet of the OnePlus teaser video of their upcoming concept phone. Check out the teaser video below:
As you can see in the video the rear camera is hidden until activated upon which the glass covering it becomes clear and the camera is visible — we suspect in a similar way to how the in-display selfie cameras are expected to work.
OnePlus detailed the concept to Wired and explained that they were working with McLaren to bring the same glass technology found in their car sunroofs (McLaren 720S supercar) to the smartphone.
Apparently the camera lenses on the rear of the phone sit underneath this special glass which is tinted. The tint is changed when the glass is triggered by an electrical signal — similar to the way smart glass in offices etc works — with it changing from “on” to “off” in under a second. The way OnePlus will have it work is that when the camera app opens the tint becomes clear to allow the lenses to work and then when the camera app is not in use (unsure whether the system will have to kill the app or just make it background) the glass over the lens will again become tinted, hiding the lenses.
It is interesting to see a relatively fledgling company such as OnePlus bring such a new concept to the world but it shows just how far they have come in such a short time:
[the phone represents a] bold exploration for OnePlus and is also a representation of overcoming a lot of [engineering] challenges. With this approach, we’ll be able to produce smaller amounts of the product and, with feedback from a small group of users, look at the possibility of making a device that’s available for users more widelyPete Lau, OnePlus CEO
As for the rest of the phone it is very similar to the OnePlus 7T Pro with the extras glass on top of the rear lenses adding just a tenth of a millimetre to its thickness. The issue with the glass at this stage is its longevity with continual switching but OnePlus believes that as the technology matures it will become more reliable and cheaper.
OnePlus do not have any plans to ship this phone any time soon and it is just a concept phone, but then remember there have been other concept phones that made it to market in recent years. The phone will be shown off at CES 2020 beginning this coming week and you can be sure we will be keeping a close eye on it.
Of course if OnePlus are looking to see if the concept works Downunder, after all I’m sure Coriolis force would have some affect (well maybe not but worth a shot), I am willing to try out this new concept for them.