OnePlus has shared more information about its Concept One smartphone ahead of CES and it has a feature that you probably never saw coming: a rear camera that remains hidden behind a special pane of glass until you’re ready to take a picture.
The Chinese smartphone maker teased its Concept One a couple of weeks ago, announcing its name and a plan to shake up traditional smartphone designs. While the company’s initial announcement left a lot to the imagination, few could have guessed that the device would have a disappearing camera array.
OnePlus’ relationship with British car company McLaren led to the idea for creating the Concept One, which has the same rear camera specifications as the 7T Pro McLaren Edition. However, the Concept One takes things a step further by covering the rear camera with electrochromic glass.
We’re bringing the #OnePlusConceptOne to #CES2020, but you don’t have to wait: you can get a sneak peek at it right here, along with its groundbreaking “invisible camera” and color-shifting glass technology. pic.twitter.com/elsV9DKctn
— OnePlus (@oneplus) January 3, 2020
When electricity is applied to the glass, it can transition from opaque to translucent. In its default state, the glass blacks out the rear camera so it isn’t visible. Then it’s said to take less than one second for the glass to go clear and the camera to become active, so you shouldn’t have to worry about missing any shots.
This is the same glass used in the sunroof of McLaren’s 720S supercar. Although it’s an expensive technology, only a small bit of the material is needed to achieve the effects seen on OnePlus’ concept device so it shouldn’t make the handset prohibitively expensive. That said, you probably won’t be able to buy one soon anyway.
Speaking to Wired, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau noted that the company doesn’t plan to ship this smartphone in the immediate future and the prototype mostly represents an effort to explore new ideas. We’ll reserve final judgments on the device until we get hands-on at CES, but for now it seems like a novel idea with limited practicality.