OnePlus have had collabs with McLaren in the past to produce some special phones and through this collaboration they came up with the idea to incorporate some of the supercar manufacturers’ technology in their phone. Out of that idea the Concept One was born.
The Concept One is designed to show off OnePlus’ push to improve not just the colours and the materials of smartphones but also the finish (CMF). The new technology they are using puts them into uncharted waters of ECMF (E=electronic) where the finish can be changed using electronic impulses.
Working together with McLaren, OnePlus created their Concept One phone over the 18 month old partnership. They worked to create a smartphone using McLaren’s orange leather, aluminium alloy framing, and electrochromic glass.
The rear of the phone is McLaren’s papaya orange, and leather with stitching around the edges surrounding the camera module and black stripe down the phone. The frame of the device is coated with aluminium using physical vapour deposition (PVD) with a thin layer of 24K gold on top of that to make it shiny (I want one now!).
Of course in the middle of all this is the camera module which is the coolest thing about this phone. Taking inspiration from the McLaren 720S where the transparency of the sunroof can be adjusted electronically by adjusting voltage and current through it OnePlus decided to use the same electronic glass for their rear camera setup.
The way OnePlus have made the electronic glass, whenever the camera app is opened the cameras can be seen and used but when the app is closed the cameras disappear from sight. Switching takes just 0.7 seconds
The end goal is to have both the front and read cameras hidden (once under-display cameras become a usable thing). Incidentally, the thin 0.05mm electronic glass also allows OnePlus to be able to have the camera module as part of the overall design rather than in a camera bump.
XDA Developers had some hands on time with the Concept One and had the following to say:
Unfortunately, for now, the Concept One is just a concept phone and OnePlus do not have a release date in mind for it, if it ever does. There were functioning units at CES 2020 and OnePlus are confident where they are at with the electronic glass but say that it will more testing before it can be released on the public.
This really could be an exciting year for smartphones if OnePlus and others decide to bring this new smartphone technology to market.
I’d be more concerned about the lifespan of the leather, instead of how fancy it looks new. Hopefully, on such an expensive device, it would last longer than it did on some LG G4.