The OnePlus Gaudí 8T Concept smartphone

Color-shifting and "Reactive Sensing Technology" are its highlights
Adhiraj S. Chauhan

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The OnePlus Concept One was revealed at CES 2020 back in January, and OnePlus teased its announcement a few times before finally unveiling it, and even allowing fans to interact with it in a World Tour.

For now, the 8T Concept seems to be a coordinated "reveal" via the press: OnePlus hasn't made a public forum post yet (or even a teaser), and the possibility of a similar World Tour for this new concept smartphone is bleak, given the pandemic. It was designed by OnePlus Gaudí (homage to Antoni Gaudí, an architect known for his sui generis style), a creative studio that comprises of ~40 designers from Shenzhen, Tapei, New York, and India.

The Concept One utilized ECMF (Electronic Color, Material, and Finish) to make the back cameras "invisible", and the 8T Concept also takes advantage of the same technology, but opts to make the glass back have a color-shifting feature instead: by alternating voltages, the metal oxide can "activate" and change colors from a dark blue to the Lunar Silver colorway (if you own an 8T you'd know this "Lunar Silver" colour is technically a very light blue in real life). This GIF, courtesy of OnePlus, should give you a good idea on how this ends up looking:

This certainly looks cool and adds personality to the 8T, but can even function as a beefed-up notification LED. Or, when coupled with the "Reactive Sensing Technology" (which uses mmWave), you can also use it to sync breathing exercises or other activities that may benefit from visual feedback. RST works by swapping out the 4th camera sensor (monochrome on the vanilla 8T) at the back with an mmWave radar, which can transmit/receive EM waves. This allows the device to locate+track without needing a dedicated camera (OnePlus claims it's faster and more efficient than a simple ToF, and can even work in low-light environments), and also allows it to measure small movements that could aid in health-related activities. If that doesn't interest you, RST can even open up possibilities for hands-free gestures (similar to what Pixel's Soli chip offers).

Of course, this being a concept phone, it's neither available for sale nor can you experience the device at a kiosk (maybe OnePlus might organize an AR "reveal" for this phone in the future — who knows). Concept phones like this are purely meant as a showcase, but it surely gives us a glimpse into what features future smartphones might have — the Concept One was the first smartphone to use ECMF but other brands like Vivo and Nubia have also thrown their hat in the ring.

We'll update this article when we have more information. Until then, have a look at these 2 proof-of-concept videos that show ECMF and mmWave in action, on the 8T Concept:

Note: while we linked videos that are uploaded to XDA's YouTube channel, the videos itself were sent by OnePlus to the press