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Here’s another way OnePlus might hide the cameras on its phones

This OnePlus patent shows a new camera hiding mechanism which is unlike the OnePlus Concept One.

Published onFebruary 6, 2020

OnePlus Concept One camera 1

OnePlus seems to be hard at work trying to conceal the cameras on its phones. We previously saw the OnePlus Concept One pulling off its disappearing act using electrochromic glass.

Now, a new OnePlus patent shows another phone capable of hiding its rear camera sensors. However, this one uses a different mechanism altogether.

A cheaper way of hiding rear cameras?

First spotted in the WIPO database by serial patent hunters LetsGoDigital, the new OnePlus patent shows a smartphone with lenses that disappear when not in use.

Unlike the Concept One, this new patented OnePlus phone hides its rear cameras beneath a plastic flap. The images in the patent filing show a OnePlus 7T-like circular camera housing. However, this time, the lenses are stacked vertically instead of horizontally.

There are two phone models depicted in the patent. One of them has three cameras and a flash, while the other has four cameras and a flash. Both of them have the plastic flap that conceals the camera sensors. You can see them in the image below.

OnePlus Phone hiiden camera patent

Why would you need a phone with hidden cameras? Perhaps OnePlus is pushing this concept in order to protect the lenses from scratches and dirt. It’s also possible this is a privacy feature much like how you can disable cameras on smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Show. Then again, it could just be a gimmick, but we won’t know for sure until OnePlus actually releases such a device.

This new mechanism of hiding the cameras is also much simpler than that of the OnePlus Concept One. The transparent glass used in the Concept One is more expensive to produce compared to a simple plastic flap described in the new patent.

A cheaper cost of production could make it easier for OnePlus to actually launch this design in the market instead of the Concept One. It still sticks to the idea of no visible camera lenses at the back, if that’s what OnePlus is gunning for.

The electrochromic glass used in the Concept One can also be used as an ND filter when taking photos though. So you’ll be losing out on this capability if you opted for a phone with plastic flaps instead.

At last! No notch

Besides the hidden back cameras, the new patent also hints at an under-screen selfie camera. Given that its sister company Oppo is already experimenting with under-screen cameras, we wouldn’t be surprised if the tech lands on OnePlus phones too.

Related: OPPO under-screen camera detailed: What to know about the next-gen tech

According to LetGoDigital, there’s no visible notch on the phone models depicted within the patent. There’s also a top-angle image included, which does not show any compartment from which a selfie camera can emerge.

Could we see these patented OnePlus smartphone designs this year? Yes and no.

We still don’t know what the OnePlus 8T series has in store, so this patent could very well be related to the upcoming OnePlus phones. However, companies usually patent many different designs and they don’t always make it to production.

We’ll have to wait and see what OnePlus has in store. For now, the upcoming OnePlus 8 series is the talk of the town and we expect it to launch in the next month or so.

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