OnePlus has confirmed it's working on a foldable phone for the second half of 2023, backing up previous rumors and hopefully bringing some excellent but previously unobtainable hardware to users around the globe.
During a panel discussion at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Kinder Liu, president and COO of OnePlus, broke the news that OnePlus would finally be offering a foldable flagship phone. He didn't mention much else beyond promises that it would embody the OnePlus "fast and smooth" mantra, and would be among the best foldable phones once it arrived.
It was also named as a key part of the company's continued widening of its product portfolio, which includes an upcoming OnePlus Pad tablet as well as last year's OnePlus Watch smartwatch and the India-exclusive OnePlus TV.
OnePlus' foldable, according to one existing rumor, could apparently arrive in September, with the name OnePlus V Fold. This foldable would use a high-res 2K display, the same source adds.
We really like OnePlus devices like the OnePlus 11 or OnePlus Nord 2T, but without precedent, it's hard to imagine how the company's particular characteristics would map onto a foldable. Fortunately, we don't have to picture this phone from scratch, thanks to its sibling company Oppo.
Oppo's already produced fantastic foldables in the form of the Oppo Find N2 and Oppo Find N2 Flip, giving OnePlus a sturdy base from which to develop its own folding phone. The Find N2 Flip is up for sale around the world (minus the U.S.) but the larger Find N2 is China-only. It would therefore make sense for OnePlus to take the Find N2 as a base, make some adjustments to make it more OnePlus-like (such as adding the rumored upgraded display), and then sell it globally, avoiding competing with its stablemate while bringing the established hardware to a wider audience.
And while it's a long shot, it would be fun to see some elements of the newly announced OnePlus 11 Concept make their way onto the foldable. Perhaps the built-in liquid cooling is a stretch, but a transparent back spattered with tiny pieces of shiny metal and a delicately-engraved camera block would certainly make for a striking-looking foldable.
Whatever OnePlus does do with its foldable, it'll have to do something to stand out in an increasingly busy segment of the phones market. Aside from Oppo's own foldables, there's the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 (and rumored Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 replacements), plus the upcoming global launch of the Honor Magic Vs that the OnePlus will have to take on. That's not even considering the shake-up that could happen if the rumored Google Pixel Fold and iPhone Flip actually arrive. So we hope for both OnePlus' sake, and that of foldables users that the OnePlus foldable does enough to make itself stand out.
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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.