OnePlus is doing something really exciting this year. Believe it or not, OnePlus is putting together a concept phone (literally, that’s what it’s called). After a series of promo teasers, OnePlus is showcasing the OnePlus Concept Phone at CES 2020. But what exactly makes the OnePlus Concept One smartphone stand apart from the rest of the crowd, you ask? Herein lies the whole excitement. If you notice at the back of the phone, there you see the camera. But just a few moments later, voila! Where did the camera go? Watch the official product video shared by OnePlus:
OnePlus had been touting about a mysterious smartphone with an ‘invisible camera’ over the past few weeks. Well, this is exactly what the company was talking about all along. But hey, you’re not gonna be able to go and buy it just yet. Why? Because as we said at the beginning, it’s just a concept phone.
What’s the idea behind the OnePlus Concept One?
The whole idea behind its black glass strip and its orange papaya stitched leather body is that they together can hide the cameras with this glass that can electronically switch between opaque and transparent. But is it absolutely required? It’s too early to comment, but this is what the concept phone is for, isn’t it? And yes, it makes the smartphone look a little nicer too because instead of seeing a bunch of camera lenses, why wouldn’t you want to see a black pane of glass?
OnePlus claims to switch between opaque and transparent in 0.7 seconds, which is about the time it takes to open the camera app in the first place.
How is this feature useful?
Gimmick or not, there’s a practical use case that makes this technology somewhat difficult to ignore. Let’s say you’re outside taking a shot of something really bright. In that case, it makes the glass a little bit darker so that all your photos or videos don’t end up quite blown out. There comes its neutral density filter in handy. All you need to do is go into Pro Mode on the camera app and tap the ND8 button at the top left corner that toggles the density filter on and off. This might positively affect your bright sunlight photos to some extent.
OnePlus has been developing this technology for 18 months just so that they can cover up the camera lenses on a OnePlus Concept One smartphone. We can’t say for sure at the moment but this technology might be necessary later on in the future when we phones start providing users with five or six camera lenses in the back of the phone. Phew!
How OnePlus Concept One camera works?
Let’s see how this technology actually works, shall we? In a nutshell, OnePlus has employed electrochromic glass, which is nothing but two panes of regular old glass. Inside is an electrochromic layer that can switch from transparent to opaque when electricity is applied to it. It’s the same technology that gets used in the McLaren sunroof.
That’s why OnePlus has partnered with McLaren in the first place to develop this technology. However, the real challenge comes with shrinking this same tech down to a form factor of a OnePlus Concept One smartphone because it takes a lot of work.
OnePlus had to get two panes of extremely thin glass and an equally thin electrochromic layer. And on top of that, they had to make it all work faster (0.7 seconds). OnePlus somehow managed to make this all possible with a glass that measures only 0.35 mm in thickness, making it the thinnest and fastest electrochromic panel ever.
Why did OnePlus come up with an ‘invisible camera’?
OnePlus probably wants to convince you that OnePlus does innovation and that’s why they partner with McLaren. They have also used the same McLaren papaya orange stitched leather on the back to align themselves better with the theme.