OnePlus Concept One has invisible cameras and color-changing glass

(Image credit: OnePlus)

After OnePlus issued an invite to the unveiling of the Concept One smartphone at CES 2020, minds have been racing, wondering what this unique Chinese manufacturer had cooked up. OnePlus has now teased a few more details, and it’s looking like the Concept One will be one exciting phone.

On OnePlus’ Twitter account, a new tweet has shown off a short video, and highlighted two features: an “invisible camera and color-shifting glass.

From the video, you can see that the phone’s centrally-aligned rear cameras are normally hidden by the electrochromic glass covering them, but can be manually revealed by opening the camera app, which applies an electric current to the glass and removes the tint (as explained by Wired). It makes for a much neater looking back than the increasingly common camera bump design that manufacturers are using to fit in as much camera tech as possible into their phones.

The electrochromic glass is borrowed from the automotive industry, with OnePlus making use of its partnership with supercar builder McLaren to help develop the technology used on the cars’ sunroofs for use on smartphones. In keeping with this, the rest of the concept phone’s back apparently has a stitched leather covering, using McLaren’s trademark Papaya Orange color similar to the special version of its latest smartphone, the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition.

If you’re curious about the specs of these stealthy camera sensors, they’re the same ones that appear on that special OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition: a 48MP main lens, a 16MP wide lens and an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. 

(Image credit: OnePlus/WIRED)

Sadly, OnePlus has said that this concept will be remaining a concept, and that there are no immediate plans to ship a phone with this color-changing glass. However, it shows another viable route for phone makers to use when trying to hide its cameras, accompanying pop-up mechanisms, sliders, and the sub-display camera concepts in development by Xiaomi and Oppo.

Make sure you keep up with everything else that's revealed and on display at CES 2020 on Tom’s Guide, and catch up on what the big trends will be with our CES 2020 preview, as well as OnePlus’ next production phone, the OnePlus 8.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.