OnePlus Concept One in blackSource: OnePlus

What you need to know

  • OnePlus' Concept One prototype once featured an all-black leather back.
  • In a write-up about the industrial design of the phone, OnePlus also shared some pictures of this black beauty.
  • In the future, OnePlus intends to incorporate more electronic elements into the material design of its phones.

Despite all the fanfare about OnePlus possibly unveiling a foldable phone at CES 2020, the Concept One it turned out was a mostly traditional phone with only one trick up its sleeve: an electrochromic piece of glass, whose opacity can be changed on the fly.

OnePlus used the tech — lifted from the sunroof on McLaren's 720S — to dynamically hide the camera on the back, and termed the whole thing the "invisible camera" phone. Gimmick or not, the contrast of that pitch-black sheet of glass and the bold shade of yellow OnePlus is called "Papaya" made for an awfully sexy phone.

Yet, that's not the only color combination OnePlus fiddled around with in its design for the Concept One. Earlier on, a prototype of the phone also featured a more traditional all-black leather design. The company even shared a couple of screenshots of the phone in this early stage of development.

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OnePlus Concept One in blackSource: OnePlus

Elsewhere, Kevin Tao from the smartphone maker's industrial design team talked up all his team is doing to improve the external design of phones. For example, he points out that the electrochromic glass on the Concept One isn't just a visual flourish.

The same tech can be used to adjust the among of light going into the camera, akin to the ND filters used by pro photographers, and open up a whole new side to smartphone photography.

As for the future, Tao says the company has its eyes set on incorporating more electronic elements into its material design, much like it did with the electrochromic glass back.

"Today we're taking a step into new territory: ECMF," he said. "The "E" stands for electronic, and when it is put together with traditional CMF (Colors, Materials Finish), an entirely new field of design possibilities is offered, one where traditionally static materials become dynamic and reconfigurable."

Maybe one day soon, you'll be able to liven up your black brick of a phone with just the press of a button.

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