If you’ve been waiting impatiently for OnePlus to launch a foldable phone, we finally know why the OEM has not yet launched. At CES last week, Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn of The edge He spoke with OnePlus CEO Pete Lau (and his interpreter, Eric Gass) about the company’s Concept One phone, 5G technology and when consumers should expect a OnePlus folding device to reach the market (spoiler: not in the short term).
According to Lau, OnePlus has investigated folding factors, but believes that current iterations have too many commitments that outweigh their benefits. When asked to explain, Lau said that OnePlus is waiting for the folding technology to support “really sharp” folds, without gaps like those seen in the Galaxy Fold, which do not impact or damage the screen. When deployed, the hinge space is often visible through the screen, which makes user management difficult.
Gass paraphrases that Lau also believes that folding screens should have the same scratch resistance as glass, not the delicate plastic that is currently being used. In other words, a folding OnePlus would need to close like a book, and still have the same durability as a standard smartphone, a feat that simply cannot be achieved today.
Given the fact that the three folding devices that were announced in 2019 faced their own unique obstacles, Lau’s apprehension of the folding segment is justified. The most notable of the trio, the Galaxy Fold, hastened to production, was delayed several times after the reviewers mistakenly destroyed their screens, redesigned for greater durability and finally reached the market, although Samsung does not know how many is actually sold. The Huawei Mate X faced its own delays before launching in China. Then, the next Moto Razr, which was supposed to go on sale last week, was suspended due to high demand.
To listen to the full conversation with Pete Lau and Eric Gass, check out the official podcast at the following link. There is also an edited transcript that you can read that describes all of Lau’s thoughts about a OnePlus folding device, multiple camera sets and more.