The OnePlus Nord's successor may be less powerful than the original, but also cheaper and available for purchase in the U.S.
XDA Developers found references to a new device, codenamed “Billie” within OxygenOS 10.5, OnePlus' latest version of Android 10. This device uses a Snapdragon 690 processor, Qualcomm's newest lower mid-range chipset with 5G capabilities.
Since the OnePlus Nord used a Snapdragon 765G chipset, it looks like this next phone would see a step down in power, but hopefully that means it will cost less as a result.
Four different model numbers for this device were identified: "BE2025”, “BE2026”, “BE2028”, and “BE2029”. These could either refer to differently specced models, or to identical versions of the handset optimized to work with specific mobile bands in different markets around the world.
It's speculated by XDA developers that the BE prefix on the model number means that "Billie" refers to musician Billie Eilish. That's because the Nord's model number begins with "AC", and had the similarly musical codename of "Avicii" during development, the name of the acclaimed Swedish DJ.
Elsewhere in the code, there's references to "Billie2T" and "Billie8T". This again may refer to two different models of the same Snapdragon 690-powered phone.
The 8T in the latter name may have you thinking of the OnePlus 8T that we're expecting to see around October this year. However, the 8T is expected to use a Snapdragon 865 chip like the original OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro devices, or the newer version of it, the Snapdragon 865 Plus. It's highly unlikely that OnePlus would decide to use a Snapdragon 690 in one of its flagship devices, as that would put it at a significant power disadvantage to its competitors.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei recently said that the U.S. market would be getting a Nord-branded phone later this year. However, he also suggested that this device may not be the same phone as the one the company just released. Therefore it seems plausible that this Snapdragon 690 device will be the Nord phone that OnePlus offers to American customers.
The OnePlus Nord turned out to be a fantastic cheap phone when we reviewed it, offering a lot of attractive features at a sub-$500 price. However, the Google Pixel 4a may be appearing soon according to recent rumors, and it will reportedly start at an even lower $349. So this could be OnePlus' plan to better compete with Google and the $399 iPhone SE while still offering 5G connectivity, something both of its rivals lack.