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OnePlus 8T Concept announced: A phone with a color-shifting back panel

Unfortunately, as with the OnePlus Concept One from last year, there are no plans to sell this.

Published onDecember 21, 2020

OnePlus 8T Concept
  • OnePlus announced a new smartphone today: the OnePlus 8T Concept.
  • The phone is mostly just a OnePlus 8T, but it features a color-changing back panel.
  • As with the OnePlus Concept One from last year, the company has no intentions of selling this device commercially.

Late last year, OnePlus surprised us with the announcement of a new smartphone it called the OnePlus Concept One. It featured an electrochromic glass panel covering the rear camera. This allowed the glass to obscure the camera lenses when not in use and then reveal them when needed.

Now, OnePlus is revealing its second “Concept” device in the OnePlus 8T Concept. This time, the entire back panel uses something OnePlus calls “Electronic Color, Material, and Finish,” or ECMF for short. Like the Concept One, this allows the back of the phone to change depending on certain circumstances.

See also: OnePlus 8T buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

Unfortunately, just like the Concept One, the 8T Concept will not be available for consumers to buy. Instead, it exists only as a publicized prototype to show how OnePlus could potentially use this technology in future products.

OnePlus 8T Concept: Some interesting use cases

With the Concept One, the actions you could do with the electrochromic glass were pretty binary: on or off. With the ECMF feature of the 8T Concept, though, there’s a whole range of potential use cases.

The ECMF film uses mmWave technology to create low-latency interactions with the phone itself. In the video above, you see how this could allow the entire panel to change when you get a phone call or other notification. In another use case example, OnePlus shows how you could perform breathing exercises with the rear-facing camera of the OnePlus 8T Concept focused on you, and the back panel would swell and dissipate to match your rhythm. This would, in theory, allow the phone to be a kind of health monitor.

Related: OnePlus phones: A history of the company’s entire lineup so far

Outside of the back panel and mmWave connectivity, though, the phone is really just the same 8T launched earlier this year. Since it exists only as a concept, for now, it’s unclear how or when this technology would ever make it to a commercial device.

Earlier this year, OnePlus brought the Concept One to CES 2020. However, since CES is happening virtually in 2021, it’s unclear if or how the press will get a look at it. It’s possible OnePlus could send sample devices around, but we have no confirmation on that yet.