The OnePlus Concept One has disappearing cameras and a very useful feature

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OnePlus isn’t expected to announce new flagships until March, but it has still found an impressive way to kick 2020 off with a bang. The company has today introduced its first ever concept phone, the OnePlus Concept One, at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

All those ugly cameras can now be discreetly hidden

Hinting at what future products from the Chinese brand may look like, the OnePlus Concept One boasts what’s being called an “invisible camera.” It took eight months to develop and uses color-shifting glass technology (electrochromic glass), something never seen on a phone before, which incorporates organic particles to create changes in transparency. 

The glass covering the lenses shows an opaque black finish when not in use but can switch to being entirely clear in just 0.7s once the camera app is fired up without using hardly any power. For reference, that’s faster than it takes the camera itself takes to fully activate.

OnePlus won’t have to worry about including too many cameras on future devices because they can now be successfully concealed. However, the new technology also serves a more practical purpose that could drastically improve the camera experience. 

That’s because the OnePlus Concept One, which was created in partnership with McLaren, can utilize the electrochromic glass as a built-in polarizing filter for the camera. This allows users to achieve sharper, more finely detailed shots in strong lighting conditions, such as direct sunlight.

McLaren leather paired with flagship components

To further ensure this phone isn’t mistaken for anything other than a premium product, OnePlus has carved the remainder of the rear panel out of the same specially tailored leather used inside the McLaren 720S. 

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The material is “soft to touch” and “due to the nature of the natural grain,” it creates what McLaren calls a “beautifully silky haptic.” The leather itself is produced in the UK, Ireland, and Scotland.

As for the rest of the smartphone, it seems to be identical to the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren. The brand has fitted the Concept One with the same 6.7-inch 90Hz curved Fluid AMOLED display that’s paired with a pop-up camera module.

The selfie camera’s resolution stands at 16-megapixel and the sensor is accompanied by a triple-camera setup on the rear. This consists of a 48-megapixel primary camera paired with laser autofocus, an 8-megapixel telephoto shooter capable of 3x optical zoom, and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle alternative.

The inside, on the other hand, consists of the Snapdragon 855+ coupled with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Also present is Android 10 and OnePlus’ usual software extras.

You won't ever be able to buy the OnePlus Concept One

Unfortunately for those of you that may have just fallen in love with this product, OnePlus has no plans to manufacture and sell it. It only exists to show off new technologies that could be incorporated into next-gen flagships.

On the bright side, OnePlus is hard at work on a total of three phones that are expected to debut within the coming months. The lineup will be led by the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, which both look set to adopt punch-hole displays and improved camera systems. 

Joining these should be the OnePlus 8 Lite, the brand’s first mid-range product since the OnePlus X. Details remain scarce at the moment but it’s largely expected to incorporate a triple-camera setup and a Snapdragon 700-series chipset coupled with yet another punch-hole display.

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