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Daily Authority: ➕/➖ One more minus for OnePlus

After spending years maturing its character, OnePlus appears to be stripping away all the things that made it different.
By
July 25, 2022
oneplus 10t 2
Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

🕷 Hello. Wolf spiders can grow up to five centimeters in diameter. In related news, my wife almost burned the house down yesterday. Hope your weekend was just as exciting.

The dissolution of OnePlus continues — today, the alert slider

OnePlus, once the proud bastion of doing things differently, is continuing its embrace of conformity. Over the weekend, the company released press renders of its next big phone, the OnePlus 10T. The major news is that the alert slider is going away, along with the Hasselblad branding from the camera. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is.

A fan favorite is going away

  • The alert slider is a rare tactile element in a sea of smooth glass and featureless metal. It lets you switch between silent, vibrate, and loud mode with a satisfying physical click.
  • Sure, it’s hardly irreplaceable, but OnePlus phones have had an alert slider since day one, so its demise is a symbolic step for the company.
  • Ever since the first rumors of the slider going away, OnePlus fans have been lamenting its loss.
  • Now OnePlus itself confirmed the rumors and even offered an explanation as to why.

The same old explanation

  • OnePlus’ Chief Designer Hope Liu had the unenviable task of justifying the removal of the alert slider on the OnePlus 10T. He did it in an interview with The Verge.
  • We’ve heard the reasoning before: ditching the alert sider was necessary to make room for other components, Liu said. Namely, “high wattage charging, a large battery capacity, and better antenna signal.”
  • It’s the refrain we’re hearing every time a phone maker decides to remove a feature. MicroSD card slots, headphone jacks, and removable batteries have all been sacrificed on the altar of “internal space.”
  • BTW, here’s a roundup of the best phones that still have a removable battery.
  • On the OnePlus 10T, the alert slider would have taken 30mm² of space on the phone’s motherboard. Apparently, the only way to include super-fast charging, good 5G connectivity, and an alert slider would have been to make the phone thicker. Oh lord, the horror.

Just another BBK brand

  • Now look, I’m no zealot. Building a modern smartphone is an incredibly complex endeavor that requires balancing dozens of competing forces. Most of them are completely unknown to the general public. So, I get it — sometimes you just have to let go of an old feature, no matter how much you like it.
  • But I can’t help feeling that the biggest force behind decisions like this is money. When you draw the line, a special feature like an alert slider adds a small, but real cost to every phone sold.
  • That’s especially salient for a company like OnePlus, which is notorious for making its phones water resistant, but not actually certifying them as water resistant, in order to save a bit of money.
  • It’s especially relevant for modern OnePlus. Over the last couple of years, the company has systematically abandoned everything that made it stand out in its early days.
  • It’s a decision coming all the way up from BBK, the little-known conglomerate that owns OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, Realme, and whatever new brand it cooked up since I last checked.
  • After allowing OnePlus to mature its character for years, the powers that be at BBK decided it’s necessary to strip everything off. The alert slider is the latest victim, but probably not last.
  • The OnePlus 10T is launching August 3.

Roundup

💰 Data breaches often go unpunished, so it’s good to see that T-Mobile will pay out $350 million to customers affected by a 2021 security incident (Android Authority).

📶 My colleague Dhruv is a techie’s techie, so make sure to check his account of how he upgraded his connected home with a new router (Android Authority).

🤮 Ads make the web go round, but sometimes you have to draw a line: When unavoidable ads appear in a product I’ve paid for, I stop using it (Android Authority).

😲 This phone is outrageously expensive, but is it worth it? Check out our Sony Xperia 1 IV review (Android Authority).

🕵️‍♀️ The FBI had issues with how Huawei telecom equipment was placed near military bases throughout the Midwest (The Verge).

🚙 What it’s like to drive the one-of-a-kind electric Mercedes that can go 747 miles on a single charge (Ars Technica).

🕹 I bet you won’t guess why Diablo Immortal is in trouble in China (The Verge). Oh, and here are some Diablo Immortal tips if you’re into the game (Android Authority).

🍎 A major redesign is heading to the series with the new Apple Watch Pro (Bloomberg).

🧠 Duolingo is the “default” app for learning new languages, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. There are some other great options out there (Android Authority).

💻 Google fired the researcher who claimed the AI he was working on became sentient. A sad end (?) to a strange saga (Engadget).

🤖 In maybe-who-knows-but-not-really-related news to the item above, a chess robot broke the finger of its seven-year-old opponent (The Guardian).

🚉 Turns out, making public transport nearly free does help ease road congestion (Autonews).

✈ Here’s how NASA and FAA are working to revolutionize traffic air control rules for drones (Bloomberg). And you can learn a whole lot more about drones and drone regulation on our sister site DroneRush.

Monday Meme

An old one, but a good one. Cleanse your eyeballs:

monday meme
Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

Have an easy week,

Bogdan Petrovan, Managing Editor.