CES 2020 | OnePlus unveils the Concept One, its first "Electronic CMF" phone
OnePlus' inaugural CES event has introduced the Concept One, a phone designed to integrate electrochromic glass. This material gives the prototype device the ability to "hide" its main cameras while not in use. This also means they are contained under the same glass. However, there is no kind of under-display camera on the other side to match, just a pop-up camera as on the 7 Pro and 7T Pro production models.
The Concept One's "hidden" camera's unique electrochromic function also doubles as a neutral density (ND) filter for the sensors in question. This means that it can shut some light out of the image to help deal with over-exposure.
This innovative feature, normally only found in dedicated DSLR lenses, could prove an exclusive asset to photography using OnePlus phones. However, it would be more useful if it could respond to a sliding control; in its current form, there is simply a step-wise ND mode available.
The glass that covers this invisible camera has been developed to be "far thinner than the industry average". It is just 0.1 millimeters in depth, and forms a sandwich with the active layer in the middle. OnePlus also claims that the resultant color-shift only takes 0.7 seconds: "the fastest speed yet achieved in the industry".
This material is found in a rear panel otherwise finished in semi-aniline leather of McLaren papaya in color. It renders the Concept One somewhat reminiscent of Huawei's Porsche Design special-edition phones, which have also featured leather backings and glass stripes in the past.
However, the OnePlus device also distinguishes itself with a mid-frame finished in what the OEM claims is real gold. Obviously, this is just a kind of plating, achieved using the electrochemical vapor deposition (EVD) technique, in which particles are laid down until they form a solid layer.
Otherwise, the Concept One's specs appear not to differ from those of OnePlus' most recent flagships. However, the OEM asserts that it showcases the company's CMF (color, material, finish) design ethic. This particular iteration is, accordingly, dubbed "Electronic CMF".
The OEM has indicated that it now plans to build on this concept in order to apply it to the future of its industrial design. This implies the potential for further innovations that put this new electrochromic technology to various uses in the OnePlus devices of the future.