If you've been impatiently waiting for OnePlus to release a folding phone, we finally know why the OEM hasn't taken the plunge yet. At CES last week, Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn from The Verge chatted with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau (and his interpreter, Eric Gass) about the company's Concept One phone, 5G technology, and when consumers should expect a OnePlus foldable device to hit the market (spoiler: not anytime soon).
According to Lau, OnePlus has researched foldable form factors but believes that current iterations have too many compromises that outweigh their benefits. When asked to elaborate, Lau said that OnePlus is waiting for foldable tech to support "really crisp" creases — free of gaps like those seen on the Galaxy Fold — that don't impact or damage the display. When unfolded, the hinge gap is often visible through the display, making it an eyesore for users to manage.
Gass paraphrases that Lau also believes foldable screens need to have the same scratch resistance as glass, not the delicate plastic that is currently being used. In other words, a OnePlus foldable would need to close flat like a book, yet still have the same durability as a standard smartphone, a feat that simply cannot be achieved today.
Given the fact that the three foldable devices that were announced in 2019 faced their own unique hurdles, Lau's apprehension to the foldables segment is aptly warranted. The most notable of the trio, the Galaxy Fold, was rushed into production, delayed multiple times after reviewers mistakenly destroyed their screens, re-engineered for increased durability, and eventually made it to market, though Samsung doesn't know how many it's actually sold. The Huawei Mate X faced its own delays before launching in China. Then the upcoming Moto Razr, which was supposed to go on sale last week, has been put on hold due to high demand.
To listen to the complete conversation with Pete Lau and Eric Gass, check out the official podcast at the link below. There is also an edited transcript you can read that outlines all of Lau's thoughts on a OnePlus foldable device, multi-camera arrays, and more.
- The Verge