OnePlus had its special event on the sidelines of CES 2020, where it unveiled the Concept One smartphone, with the vanishing cameras. The Verge managed to sit down OnePlus CEO, Pete Lau for its podcast, where he was asked his thoughts on the recent trend of foldable phones. However, Lau’s opinion was that the company had looked into it but found that the cons far outweighed the pros, which is why it hasn’t pursued it. The interview was transcribed by Lau’s interpreter Eric Gass.
Going by some of the excerpts from the interview with the Verge, one of the reason Lau and his team haven’t pursed this category of smartphones, is because of the way the current display fold, which don’t leave a very “clean or crisp” fold. He states that this also leads to screen creasing and issues and is not something he’d want on a phone bearing the OnePlus brand name. This sentiment also hints at the fact that we probably won’t be seeing a foldable phone from the company anytime soon, probably not even a concept.
When asked about Motorola’s implementing of the Razr, where the display actually moves a bit when folded to avoid a crease, Lau still didn’t seem impressed with that. He mentions that since the display is still plastic, it won’t have the scratch resistant or durable properties of actual glass.
If you think about it, it kind of makes sense why a company such as OnePlus would not focus on such technology, simply because it’s not mature enough and it probably doesn’t want to dedicate a good chunk of its R&D resources to a niche segment right now. There’s no doubt that foldable displays will get better and the costs of making them will come down eventually, but right now, it’s mostly experimental tech. Giants like Motorola, Samsung and Huawei probably have the budgets to devote time and resources into experimenting with new concepts, but that doesn’t mean everyone can.