OnePlus is disabling the color filter camera on its OnePlus 8 Pro handsets in response to user concerns about its 'X-Ray' abilities.
OnePlus made a post on Chinese social network Weibo explaining its decision (via XDA Developers' Mishall Rahman on Twitter). The statement explains that because of "concerns about privacy" (machine translated), "we decided to temporarily disable the filter function through software upgrades," which will go live within a week. It continues to say that it will then alter the software and re-enable the camera in a future update.
OnePlus has a similar but shorter statement in English on its OnePlus Forums. The company further explains that while it will be updating OxygenOS to limit the camera's abilities, it won't be locking off the color filter camera or its associated 'photochrom' filter effect globally. This only applies to HydrogenOS, OnePlus' China-only operating system.
We reported on the apparent x-ray powers of the OnePlus 8 Pro last week. While there isn't a definite answer on why this effect happens, the way the color filter camera filters out certain frequencies of light allows it to see through semi-transparent plastic, glass or fabrics.
Ironically, in our OnePlus 8 Pro review, we struggled to see the point of the color filter camera since its use cases seemed so narrow. We praised the handset's 48MP main and 48MP ultrawide rear cameras, but they weren't quite enough to make the OnePlus 8 Pro one of the best camera phones around like the iPhone 11 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus.
While it seems unlikely that anyone could use this unintended feature for improper ends, OnePlus is playing it safe while it retools the software powering this camera. The statement also mentions that there have been false pictures of the camera's abilities circulating online, so while this decision seems a bit drastic, it was likely taken to combat misinformation.
This is some unfortunate news for OnePlus fans who have been enjoying the photochromatic sensor, but there's more hardware to look forward to. The OnePlus Z looks to be the company's next budget handset which will borrow features from the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro while coming in at a lower price.
Further along the line, we're expecting a OnePlus 8T and 8T Pro to arrive around October based on the company's history of releasing an improved version of its flagship phone later in the year.