OnePlus’ third handset emerges as the…OnePlus 3!
The OnePlus 2 has been out a little while now, long enough that OnePlus has actually terminated the invite-only sales model for the device, meaning anyone can cruise over to the OnePlus webstore and buy one straight up. That can pretty much only mean one thing – a successor is already in the works for launch inside 2016 – but then, given the way we know the smartphone industry works and how in-advance development cycles are, this is hardly suprising news.
In the meantime, OnePlus has reduced the cost of its OnePlus 2 handset to $349 — and it is staying that way forever. Here’s what the company had to say about the price reduction on its official blog:
“We learned a lot from our first flagship phone. The invite system helped get the OnePlus 2 off the ground, and now thanks to both timing and scale, our operations have sized up to the Goldilocks principle of just right. So, why not let our fans join us in celebrating the fruits of our labor? The OnePlus 2 now has a price modification of $349, forever. If you’ve ever needed to give a friend another reason to join Team OnePlus, here you go.”
The company also released the OnePlus X earlier in 2015 and that handset, while nowhere near as compelling as the OnePlus 2, is still generating quite a bit of interest from consumers. The OnePlus 2 flagship was not without its detractors, however, following the company’s decision NOT to include NFC, a fingerprint scanner or a QHD panel on the front of the device.
The OnePlus 3, like every other flagship before it from the Chinese upstart, will almost certainly be released inside the company’s now infamous invite-only purchasing program, whereby users have to first get an invite before they can buy an actual phone from OnePlus. This process cuts out networks and retailers and allows the company to exercise better control of the handset’s production process, rather just building a few million units like everybody else in the space.
One area — well, two actually – OnePlus could score an easy win is to do with NFC and QHD display panels. I’m not too fussed about NFC, though I know a lot of people would like to see it included. For that reason and that reason alone, OnePlus should include it on the OnePlus 3. Ditto Type-C USB for charging. Yes, I know it’s a bit annoying at present but it will become A LOT more common in 2016/7, so it is best to be prepared.
The handset will likely feature 3GB of RAM and Qualcomm’s soon-to-be-unleashed Snapdragon 820 CPU. Beyond this we’d expect to see some big improvements to imaging and battery performance, likely a larger cell, as well as the introduction of a QHD display panel, another key spec missing from last year’s OnePlus 2.
OnePlus 3 Release Date
February 25 sees some more details emerge – this time we have OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei talking to CNET about the forthcoming flagship, saying that it will launch late in Q2, by June according to the report. Pei said that the phone will feature a “new design” which he hopes will “captivate” consumers as much as the original OnePlus One. It would appear that although the OnePlus 2 was more feature-rich and sold better than the OnePlus One, OnePlus feels that on the design front it lost some of the charm compared to the debut model.
However, as of March 31, a new set of details has rocked up promising we’ll see a launch on April 7. The word comes via GizmoChina which claims to have heard of a special launch event taking place on that date in Beijing.
Apart from this, the same source revealed a set of AnTuTu benchmarks which give us some idea of the handset’s spec. The model number is A3000 and it packs a 5.5in 1080p HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU (with the Adreno 530 GPU), 4GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. There’s also a 16MP rear camera and an 8MP secondary. Naturally it runs OxtgenOS based on Android 6.0.1.
OnePlus 3 Design
Oneplus is normally quite vocal about its in-development devices, that’s kind of its thing; the whole transparency and openess with its own community of fans via social media and its own forum line. That’s worked very well in the past for generating plenty of interest in its devices. Sometimes though, leaksters still beat OnePlus to the punch and reveal a new handset before the firm is necessarily ready to say “hey, look what we’re working on”. And on that note, images have now appeared online showing 3D renders of the next-gen device.
The leak comes via Mobile Dad, and the images appear to show a brushed metal back panel design which may or may not be part of a unibody. If so, this would be a departure from OnePlus’ design conventions for the flagship so far, which have previously involved interchangeable back panels in a variety of materials, including kevlar, denim, and wood. That said, using a metal panel at all is also departure as we haven’t seen this until now. It’s also worth noting that the OnePlus X was deliberately intended as a device to showcase the firm’s premium design, placing this as a higher priority over even the specs – but even that device used glass or ceramic (depending on which variant you opted for) rather than a largely metal build.
Meanwhile, on the front there is no longer a fingerprint scanner and instead we have a front-facing speaker grille which may provide stereo sound similar to HTC’s BoomSound setup, though this is merely speculation. The source for the images also claims the handset will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip and a 1080p display – although we’ve no idea of the size of the handset or the display diagonal. There’s also no word on RAM or any other specs, including the camera.
As of February 18, a video has leaked showcasing the OnePlus 3’s design and a few of its features. TimesNews reports having received a tip from an unnamed source with videos and images of the new device. A photo included shows the handset in the flesh, but the video and other images are 3D renders, that said, it’s claimed these are ‘official’ images that have been unearthed early and are not made by third party 3D artists.
The design seems to have changed a bit, with a curvier shape featuring a metal frame and what looks like a brushed metal back panel, and it seems to have a fingerprint scanner. The report estimates it has a 5.5in display and there is some indication we might see a Type-C USB port.
“The rumored specifications of the device includes a 5.5-inch 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection and is expected to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. It will have two variants: 4GB RAM and 16GB inbuilt storage and 5GB RAM with 64GB inbuilt storage. It is expected to run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based Oxygen OS out of the box.”