Wired has outed a bunch of information about the OnePlus Concept One and the company itself has teased the device in a new video.
As you can see in the video above, the OnePlus Concept One features an industry-first invisible camera setup. OnePlus says it achieved this through the use of electrochromic glass. Wired further explains that OnePlus is partnering with long-time collaborator McLaren to take glass technology found in high-end cars and aircraft windows for use in the smartphone.
The camera setup on the back of the phone hides under the glass. The tint of the glass changes when it is triggered by electrical signals. This makes the triple camera array visible when you open the camera app and hides it when not in use.
Wired reports the OnePlus Concept One has a race-car-like aesthetic, which isn’t exactly a surprise considering McLaren is involved in its design. The phone model accessed by the publication had a Papaya Orange leather back with stitching along its edges and black electrochromic glass runs down the center spine.
OnePlus says it has no plans of actually shipping the Concept One anytime soon. “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 widely,” OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said.
OnePlus Concept One camera specs and design
The OnePlus Concept One reportedly has the same camera specs as the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition. It will sport a 48MP primary camera, a 16MP ultra-wide shooter, and a third 8MP (likely telephoto) snapper.
The only difference in the camera setup is the addition of the special disappearing glass. When activated, the back of the phone becomes completely black, masking the lenses and giving off a uniform look to the rear cover.
This is the same electrochromic glass used on the optional sunroof on the McLaren 720S supercar. OnePlus was inspired by the car and started working on incorporating the glass in a phone in 2018.
Lau says that the thickness of the glass was of concern to OnePlus. Since smartphone cameras are already covered with glass, adding another electrochromic layer was not easy. The executive claims that ultimately, the glass only adds 0.1mm to the overall thickness of the OnePlus Concept One. He adds that the camera lens takes less than a second to go from off to on.
Experts believe that the electrochromic glass is expensive to produce and degrades over time. However, OnePlus hopes that the cost will come down as the technology matures. “A core tenet of this philosophy is having a focus on purposeful design…a total uninterrupted screen experience,” Lau explained.
What do you think of the OnePlus Concept One? Does it tickle your fancy? We’ll be checking out the OnePlus Concept One for ourselves at CES, but let us know your initial reactions in the comments section below.