After teasing the OnePlus Concept One smartphone recently, the Chinese tech giant has introduced the handset at its CES 2020 event in Las Vegas. The company says that the OnePlus Concept One is the world’s first smartphone to utilise colour-shifting glass technology. This tech allows the glass to change transparency and flaunt an “invisible camera”. The electrochromic glass panel on the triple rear camera setup and the lens can turn transparent or opaque to show or hide the lenses, which gives it an invisible camera effect. The brand has partnered with the luxury sports car maker McLaren to develop the OnePlus Concept One.
The rear cameras of the OnePlus Concept One become visible only when the camera is in use. The optimal solution used for this functionality is called “Electronic CMF”, as per the brand. The glass of the smartphone utilises organic particles to make changes in transparency, which allows it to turn opaque black to entirely clear instantly. Notably, the same glass also doubles as a polarising filter for the rear cameras, which allows users to capture sharper and more detailed photos under strong lighting conditions.
As per OnePlus, the electrochromic glass used on the OnePlus Concept One is far thinner than the industry average. The glass takes just 0.7 seconds to transform from solid black to transparent. Notably, the brand claims that the glass turns transparent even faster than the time the camera takes to fully activate. The company mentioned that “The OnePlus Concept One marks a breakthrough exploration in smartphone CMF (colour, material, finish) design and lays the foundation for future smartphones with radically new designs and capabilities”.
Talking about the other design elements, the OnePlus Concept One draws inspiration from the McLaren 720S Spider luxury sports car. The car comes with a retractable hardtop, which is glazed with an electrochromic glass panel. The Concept One also has leather around the rear cameras, which has the iconic McLaren Papaya Orange hue. The phone has a curved full-screen fascia and a pop-up selfie camera. In addition, the handset’s frame is made from an aluminium alloy, which is treated with a new vapour deposition process. This allows the thin gold finish layer on the frame to be deposited easily, resulting in what the brand calls a subtle shine.
Pete Lau, CEO and Founder of OnePlus, said “This concept phone is a significant experiment into the future form of smartphones. OnePlus started this initiative with the goal of bringing the ‘burdenless’ user experience to the next level. The invisible camera stands as a new form of camera design, one that spares the user from the compromises of current camera layouts. The rear camera lenses are hidden by the dynamic electrochromic glass and only become visible when the camera is in use. This optimal solution is what OnePlus calls ‘Electronic CMF’—a new approach in industrial design. This is just the beginning as we explore additional possibilities in the future”.
OnePlus hasn’t revealed anything about the hardware features of the OnePlus Concept One at the moment. It’s worth mentioning that since this is a concept phone, it probably will not be commercially released.