OnePlus CEO confirms it will use 'invisible camera' tech in a production phone

OnePlus Concept One
OnePlus Concept One (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed we will see the disappearing camera tech in a consumer product in the future.
  • The invisible camera tech was shown off at CES 2020 with OnePlus's first-ever concept phone, the OnePlus Concept One.
  • On the topic of foldables, Lau believes that currently the benefits are "outweighed by the shortcomings or the disadvantages of the current state of the technology."

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau recently made his first podcast appearance with The Verge on January 14, 2020. During the nearly half-hour podcast, the big topics of discussion included the new OnePlus concept phone shown off at CES 2020 and foldables.

With OnePlus making a big show of its first-ever concept phone at CES 2020, it was no surprise that The Vergecast kicked off with some questions about the first-of-its-kind device. For those that may have missed it, the OnePlus Concept One's main attraction is the disappearing camera.

When asked if we can expect to see this materialize in a consumer phone in the future, Pete's response was a definite yes. He didn't give any timeline on when can expect to see this tech make its way into OnePlus phones, but he did mention that it was close (although it needs more time for testing and feedback).

If you're curious about how OnePlus accomplishes making the cameras disappear, it is by using electrochromic glass which turns opaque when a current is introduced, causing the lenses behind the glass to be hidden. Then, once the current is turned off, the glass becomes transparent, revealing the cameras. While this is mostly a cosmetic feature, the opaque glass can also act as an ND filter for the camera in Pro mode.

OnePlus Concept One

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

This basically means it will block more light from reaching the camera sensor, allowing you to have longer shutter speeds. A feature like this could be useful in certain situations, such as taking a long exposure photo of a waterfall or stream to get that silky smooth water effect.

Besides talking up the company's new invisible camera tech, The Verge also asked Lau about foldable phones. According to Lau through his translator, folding phones are currently "outweighed by the shortcomings or the disadvantages of the current state of the technology."

For example, he mentioned that the folds are not clean or crisp and that "results in a lot of screen creasing or issues with where the fold is in the screen." Lau also mentioned how currently the plastic screens don't offer the scratch resistance of glass. All in all, it sounds like while OnePlus has explored the possibility of foldables, it is still waiting for the tech to catch up to the concept before creating its own.

Jason England