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OnePlus offers first look at new phone with disappearing cameras (but you can’t buy it)

OnePlus has teased the design of its futuristic new concept smartphone, dubbed OnePlus Concept One (Image: ONEPLUS)

OnePlus has offered a very brief glimpse at a new prototype, which will be unveiled in full at CES in Las Vegas this week. The Shenzhen-based company will use the concept smartphone to showcase a number of new technologies that could eventually make their way into future flagship handsets from OnePlus.

Before the full unveiling on the showroom floor in a few days, OnePlus has posted a video on Twitter that teases some of the most interesting parts of the design. The most notable of these design elements an “invisible camera” that can disappear on the back of the handset. It’s an intriguing notion. Given smartphone manufacturers push to add more lens to the back of the handset to enable new functionality – such as increased lossless zoom, artificial bokeh-style blur for Portrait Mode shots, ultra-wide angles – the back of modern flagships can look a little crowded.

If OnePlus’ technology works as advertised, being able to fade the ugly array of cameras on the back of your smartphone to a pristine slab of glass would be really interesting.

Dubbed Concept One, OnePlus’ prototype for CES uses “electrochromic glass” to enable its headline trick. According to the company, “OnePlus is the first in the industry to explore the applications of electrochromic glass in smartphones. By exploring innovative ways to combine cutting-edge technology and smartphones, OnePlus is again boldly challenging the conventional practices of the industry.”

It adds: “The glass on the OnePlus Concept One uses organic particles to create various tints in colour when subject to an electrical field. When a different voltage is applied, the light transmission properties are altered, allowing the glass to shift back and forth from transparent to translucent.

“The technology is currently used in the aviation and high-end automobile industries to greatly reduce glare, such as on the windows of the Boeing 787s and the McLaren 720s. By leveraging this dynamic glass solution, the OnePlus Concept One is able to maintain a clean and unbroken back cover while simultaneously delivering a premium and unobtrusive handfeel experience to its users.”

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Although some industry commentators believed OnePlus would show-off a folding smartphone at CES. However, the so-called Concept One doesn’t appear to have a hinge in sight.

OnePlus already set records by releasing the first 5G-enabled smartphone in the UK. And then broke records again a few months later by setting the fastest 5G speeds of any smartphone. Although there are no plans to put the Concept One into production, it does hint at some of the technologies and ideas that OnePlus is playing with at the moment.

OnePlus is widely-expected to announce a follow-up to the OnePlus 7T Pro in the coming months, likely called OnePlus 8 Pro. Whether the Shenzhen-based company also releases a successor to the OnePlus 7T as well, or simply lowers the price of the Pro variant to bring it back to the £499-ish price that OnePlus used to target for all of its smartphones.

Express.co.uk will be on the showfloor at CES and will bring you all the news on the OnePlus reveal – as well as news from Samsung and other brands.

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