OnePlus, the maker of high-spec Android phones at sub-$1,000 prices, is already showing off its upcoming foldable phone to YouTube channel Unbox Therapy before it's even ready, as per a video uploaded to the channel on Monday.
In the video, Unbox Therapy host Lewis Hilsenteger spoke to Pete Lau, the founder of OnePlus and now chief product officer of Oppo. The unnamed folding phone's major selling point is how flat the device can fold. According to Lau, OnePlus has filed 35 patents related to the new folding phone's hinge, all meant to reduce the weight and size while also increasing strength.
Compared to the Oppo Find N2, the OnePlus foldable has 31 fewer components in its hinge. It's also 37% smaller. In demonstrations, the fold was tight enough to grasp a sheet of paper with the force strong enough to actually hold the weight of the phone as well.
While the iPhone continues to dominate major markets around the world, such as the United States and Japan, foldables have been one area Apple hasn't yet touched. This allows companies like Samsung and Google to differentiate and potentially court Apple users. Foldables remain a growing segment in the smartphone market, which is in contrast to the rest of the industry. Even though overall global smartphone shipments declined 9% in 2023, foldables shipments increased 10%, according to Counterpoint Research. Even with the encouraging numbers, Samsung recently cut its foldable production targets, with the company currently sitting on 8 weeks of inventory, according to The Elec.
There's been some criticism lobbed at OnePlus for losing its core identity as the "never settle" phone company that also delivered great value. As OnePlus and Oppo have merged, critics have pointed to a sameness between the products from both companies and the gradual increase in prices.
"After the merging, the R&D capability of the company is getting stronger," said Lau. "We have launched many industry-leading technologies and are bringing products that have created a good reputation among consumers. For example, we have launched two generations of foldables under the Oppo brand and have also launched OnePlus 11, which has also received wide acclaim."
It does seem that this new foldable is harkening back to OnePlus' original DNA. Back is the unlock slider. As for the camera, the unit sent to Unbox Therapy had the camera array covered. A release date hasn't been set, but Indian actress Anushka Sharma was seen holding a folding phone that looked very similar to the OnePlus foldable.