OnePlus Concept One

OnePlus plays a hidden camera: Concept One revolutionizes the smartphone

OnePlus Concept One

OnePlus had announced its Concept One for CES in a nebulous way. Now it’s there and was shown at the Las Vegas fair. We were in the back room of the OnePlus and we could see the device.


OnePlus Concept One: that’s behind

Basically we first found a OnePlus 7T Pro in the McLaren design. Technical highlights, which we normally look for in smartphone datasheets, are not the subject of the smartphone concept. Basically OnePlus only uses the base of its previous flagships to advance the design, and this is not just about the pure appearance.

The hidden camera

We see the design experiment more clearly on camera. The Concept One has three lenses and a flash positioned vertically one below the other at the back. But you can only really see it when the camera is active. When the camera is still, the lenses also disappear behind the dark glass that surrounds them. They do not retract or cover themselves, they simply disappear in the black mist; technically more correct: in the color-changing electrochromic glass.

Here, two wafer-thin but sturdy glass panels sit one on top of the other. In the middle is a material that changes color. The three components taken together result in a thickness of just 0.35 millimeters. In fact, a technical milestone OnePlus has achieved here.

This is how the design trick works

OnePlus has copied the principle of aircraft manufacturer Boeing, among others, that it uses technology in its 787 “Dreamliner” to darken windows. The organic particles form a spectrum that ranges from clear, completely transparent glass to impenetrable black. Depending on the incidence of light, the cameras can also be seen off. This is not really a disadvantage, but we cannot grant the invisible title. OnePlus approves the status of the concept for now.

Thanks to the thinness with which OnePlus makes this design delicacy tangible, the first step towards mass production has already been taken, and the principle is likely to find imitators in the years to come. OnePlus will find an ideal solution for product designers for whom the many camera lenses (on demand) are a thorn in the side. Camera performance is not reduced in any way by blackout technology.

Hidden camera in the OnePlus Concept One

According to the company, it takes 0.7 seconds for the camera to emerge from the dark. During this time, the software, sensor and lens are not even ready to shoot, so time is not a disadvantage. However, darkening the camera requires power. As an alternative, says OnePlus, “It uses almost no electricity.” A flexible term that must first be cemented in practice. The design function must not mutate in the battery factor, since technically only an electrical impulse is necessary for the glass line to change color.

New materials for new smartphones

The back of the OnePlus Concept One is the focus of the design concepts anyway. It was introduced together with the noble automaker McLaren, which has been designing limited special editions of Chinese flagship cellphones alongside OnePlus for years. The characteristic orange should not be missing. In addition to the gold trim, the color is eye-catching. In the good tradition of old smartphone comrades like the LG G4, leather has become the material of choice for the prototype. The same leather used on McLaren cars is emphasized for design elements and features.

Since the Concept Phone does not reflect a finished mobile phone, but rather the status of a project, leather and glass are not enough: OnePlus has been eager to experiment in the past and has designed smartphone backs made of Kevlar, bamboo or ceramic, some of which are later made by the competition – Samsung, for example, has ceramic versions of its Galaxy S10 + in its range.

Gold side frame of the OnePlus Concept One

The trendiest for OnePlus is the industrial design with glass particles, called “electronic CMF”, which can be light and transparent, as well as black and impenetrable. Other design experiments under the guise of Concept Phone are not excluded.