One of the big reasons OnePlus took off as a brand in the first place was its ethos of "flagship killer" specs at impressively low prices. Over time, just like Google's Pixel/Nexus line, that got eroded until it was making shiny fancypants phones that cost nearly as much as the big guys.
Thankfully, for us OnePlus purists who still type the URL as .net from the days when they didn't have the dot com, the company has announced it'll be somewhat returning to its roots with a much more affordable phone called potentially either the OnePlus 8 Lite, OnePlus Nord or OnePlus Z, an interesting throwback to the short-lived OnePlus X budget line. The company's PR Instagram account for the phone – which pitches it as part of 'New Beginnings' for the brand – is called 'OnePlusLiteZThing.'
As per the rumours, the phone will be launched in India, which is a reasonable decision on the business side – it's OnePlus's biggest market. However, India is currently buckling under the weight of covid-19, which makes us think OnePlus should perhaps have done a virtual unveiling from their HQ in China.
According to CEO Pete Lau, OnePlus's new handset will be available in India and Europe first, coming to North America later.
However, it won't be replacing the company's main line of pricey phones. The OnePlus 8 has not long been announced, and although OnePlus has tended to stick to one handset at a time, it seems the two will be offered simultaneously as happened with the OnePlus X in 2015.
Helpfully, Lau has let us know that budget phones sell better. Shocking, that.
As ever, there have been leaks, giving us an idea of what to expect from the OnePlus Z or whatever it's called. It's reported to come in a rather gorgeous ocean turquoise colour, with not one but two selfie cameras: 32MP and 8MP, the second having a wide-angle lens so you can fit your friends in after lockdown.
Don't expect those cameras to pop out like on flagship OnePlus phones, though: they'll apparently be punch-holes in the top left of the display.
Leaks have also led us to believe we'll see a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset and – oddly – a 90Hz AMOLED display. That latter point seems unlikely if the phone is actually going to be affordable, and a recent tweet from Carl Pei suggested it might even cost the same as the company's first phone, the £229/£269 OnePlus One. With the whole 'New Beginnings' thing, maybe it'll be the OnePlus One Two?
It's been a while... https://t.co/O61EoIa3Gc
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) June 19, 2020
We'll find out at the official launch on the 10th of July. Which isn't as far away as it sounds. [Engadget]