Today, at CES in Las Vegas, OnePlus announced their first official concept smartphone: the Concept One. The smartphone has "invisible" rear cameras on the back. The smartphone won't be available for sale.
On December 17th, Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus, started to reveal the first pieces of information about the just-announced Concept One smartphone on the OnePlus Forums. According to him, OnePlus strives to "share the absolute best technology in the world" and that this concept "shows our commitment to applied, innovative technology - bringing users an ever smoother, faster, and more burdenless experience". Their focus with this concept lays on "new technology and alternate design approach for the future of smartphones."
Last Friday, Pete Lau again posted another article including a video, teasing about the Concept One smartphone. In this article, they started to talk about some first details. For example, "using electrochromic glass, a color-shifting glass, to cloak the rear camera lenses behind a clean glass body and reveal them only when they’re in use."
Pete Lau says that OnePlus is the first in the industry to use electrochromic glass in smartphones. Usually, this glass is being used in the Boeing 787 and the McLaren 720s. When the cameras are in use, the electrochromic glass will be transparent, which makes it possible for the cameras to look through the back-side of the glass. When not in use, the electrochromic glass will be opaque so the cameras won't be visible.
Today, at CES, OnePlus officially announced the Concept One phone. This conceptual phone contains, as previously mentioned in this article, an electrochromic glass technology. What happens, if the cameras need to become "invisible", electric pulses will be sent to the glass in order to make the glass "black". This technology also brings another useful feature: it works like a polarizing filter for the camera as well, in order to achieve a sharper, more finely detailed shot under strong light. This will result in better images in the end. At least, that's what it should result in.
OnePlus claims it's not easy to implement this. One of those challenges is that the glass needs to be very thin and light. You can imagine that, if you want to make it thin, it's going to be fragile. OnePlus said they also made it strong, and yet thin as well. OnePlus uses two glass panels of 0.1mm each, for a combined total of 0.35mm, which is pretty interesting.
According to OnePlus, and tests, it takes around 0.7 seconds to shift from transparent to opaque. OnePlus said they "spent nearly eight months and tested more than a hundred different options before settling on the best solution for looks, speed, and power consumption."
The leather has been made by McLaren and its partners. XDA has published an article and video about the new product: https://www.xda-developers.com/oneplus-concept-one-invisible-camera/. The video: