Update, December 28 (2:30 pm ET): After the initial $3,000 listing was taken down, the OnePlus 9 was relisted on eBay, where it sold for twice the price as was originally requested.
What you need to know
- A OnePlus 9 prototype device appeared on eBay over Christmas, priced at $3,000.
- The listing was quickly pulled when people noticed the phone's ID number watermark was visible, but photos showing the design match up with earlier leaks.
- The seller relisted the prototype on eBay the following day, where it apparently sold for $6,000.
If you're testing a prototype of an unannounced future smartphone, it's not a good idea to leak it onto the Internet. If you do leak it onto the Internet, it's not a good idea to do so in the form of an eBay listing offering to sell it for a cool $3,000. If you do leak it onto the Internet and offer to sell it for a cool $3,000, it's not a good idea to include photos in that listing showing the unique ID number of the phone, allowing it to be traced by your employer.
That's exactly what happened to one early OnePlus 9 unit in recent days, in theory giving unscrupulous buyers the chance to purchase the successor to one of 2020's best Android phones — albeit for a sizeable markup on the eventual retail price. The eBay listing itself has since been pulled, but remains archived for all to see — including that all-important code at the bottom of the screen, which uniquely identifies the device.
Codes like this, displayed over the screen at all times on prototype and pre-release devices, are one of the many ways phone manufacturers attempt to foil leakers by tracking photos like this back to the individual employee. Presumably whoever tried to sell this preproduction OnePlus 9 either wasn't aware of this, or the unit in question may have been stolen by the eventual eBay seller.
The listing was spotted by XDA's Mishaal Rahman and @Deadman_Android over on Twitter. Rahman speculates that it may be the same physical unit which has recently appeared in other leaks online, which shows temporary branding on the back panel in place of the usual OnePlus logo.
Whatever the case, this latest outing confirms several details shown in previous OnePlus 9 leaks, including a bronze-hued back panel and iPhone-style camera module packing two large lenses, LED flash and a third smaller lens.
Images of the Settings app shows a lot of placeholder information, including 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage — so it's unclear if this is legit information. Other info matches up with what we'd expect to see from a OnePlus prototype, including an early version of OxygenOS 11 and a model number of LE2117. T-Mobile's 5G logo is displayed in the status bar — and the eBay listing says it's shipping from the U.S. — suggesting this may be a T-Mo OnePlus 9 variant.
The OnePlus 9 is rumored to feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 processor, a flat hole-punch display, 30W wireless charging and 65W quick charging. (Bringing the best of Warp Charge from the OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 8T respectively.)
AC has previously reported that the OnePlus 9 series is due to break cover in March 2021, and consist of a OnePlus 9, 9 Pro and 9 Lite.
Update, December 28 (2:30 pm ET) — The OnePlus 9 prototype has seemingly sold for $6,000
The original seller relisted the prototype OnePlus 9 on eBay, this time making sure the phone's ID number was no longer visible. Android Police spotted the new listing, which states that someone purchased the phone on December 26 for $6,000 USD.
In the listing, the illicit seller states that "I am not responsible for oneplus erasing this phone or anything they may do to the phone after purchase period. If you purchase this you agree to those terms." This suggests that everyone involved knows that OnePlus can remotely deactivate this phone with the ID number that already leaked before. Apparently, that didn't dissuade the buyer from purchasing it anyway.
How much would you pay to get a highly anticipated phone a few months early, one that might not work properly and could get you in legal trouble? We'd probably pay a bit less than six thousand dollars.
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