OnePlus Walks Back Comments About Having First Snapdragon 855 Phone

Editors' Note: Updated at 9:14 a.m. ET on Dec. 6 to include new information that OnePlus' future phone will be "one of the first" with the Snapdragon 855.

WAILEA, Hawaii — The Snapdragon 855 mobile processor may have just been announced, but it's already gotten at least one phone maker to reveal its plans for the new chipset. OnePlus, which specializes in affordably priced flagship phones, originally said on stage at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Tech Summit on Wednesday (Dec. 5) that it would be the first to launch an 855-powered device next year. Now, however, the company is walking back that statement.

Credit: OnePlus/Qualcomm

(Image credit: OnePlus/Qualcomm)

OnePlus' 2019 flagship will actually be among the first with the new chipset, according to Engdaget, which confirmed the clarification with a OnePlus spokesperson.

"We appreciate the opportunity to clarify that we will be one of the first to have access to, and use, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855," the statement given to Engadget reads. "We apologize for the miscommunication."

Apparently, the Chinese version of OnePlus' slide deck that was shown at the summit correctly said the startup's next phone would be "among the first" to receive the 855, while a mistranslation in the English version wrongly called it the first, full stop. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau had taken the stage early during the Day 2 keynote of Qualcomm's event to make the announcement.

It could have been a big win for OnePlus, as the Snapdragon 855 figures to power a lot of flagship Android phones in 2019. Verizon and AT&T have already announced plans to build 5G-ready phones with Samsung next year, and so have LG and Sprint. Since 5G compatibility is a major feature for the Snapdragon 855, it's a safe assumption those chips would run on Qualcomm's latest chipset, too. Yesterday's announcement suggested that OnePlus would beat them to the punch.

MORE: 8 Ways Snapdragon 855 Will Change Your Next Phone

Lau didn't disclose exactly when its Snapdragon 855-powered phone would debut. Typically, OnePlus introduces a new flagship every five months. This fall's OnePlus 6T debuted in October, five months after the OnePlus 6's May unveiling. It's unclear if OnePlus intends to speed up that release schedule so that it can be earlier to the market with the Snapdragon 855.

But the new phone apparently won't be called the OnePlus 7, at least based on what Lau told Cnet in an interview. Instead, this 5G-ready, Snapdragon 855-powered device will be separate from OnePlus' regular phone lineup. That could be because this phone will likely cost far more than the sub-$550 starting prices OnePlus charges for its current flagships. Lau estimated that 5G compatibility could add $200 to $300 to the phone's cost.

Qualcomm is revealing more details about the Snapdragon 855 today. But we already know that the new chipset will feature support for an embedded fingerprint sensor — something OnePlus already features in the 6T — an improved AI engine, and an updated image signal processor that adds intelligence to smartphone cameras. We'll have additional information about the Snapdragon 855 as it becomes available.

In addition to delivering one of the first Snapdragon 855 phones, OnePlus said it would have the first 5G phone available in Europe, using EE's mobile network.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.