As we wait for the OnePlus 8 — if the company follows previous years it should be launching in the next few months — the Chinese phone maker is teasing another product, one that's "not a phone/commercial product."
OnePlus shared the news on the "special project" on its UK Twitter account and says it will "DM a small number of you some photos" if you reply to the tweet with a "👋" emoji.
What is it? — Other than some photos of industrial machinery, nobody knows what OnePlus is up to. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau shared two hints: snow and 5G. Okay... a 5G snow blower? A 5G snowball thrower? A 5G snowman maker? What the heck is it and why is OnePlus spending time on something that's not a phone and not going to be commercialized?
Too many stunts — It worries me that OnePlus is really feeling itself. Cockiness and arrogance are starting to creep in again with its growth. Earlier this year, OnePlus announced the OnePlus Concept One phone with an "invisible camera" that uses electrochromic technology from a McLaren's windows to tint and un-tint the glass. While cool-looking and even semi-useful (the tinted glass works like an ND filter to capture better exposures outdoors), the OnePlus Concept One will never be commercialized.
I can't help but wonder if OnePlus is taking its hands off the wheel and getting distracted by these projects that, while useful for building out its brand, may not be better for its products. Unless, of course, whatever this 5G-and-snow-related product is potential R&D for a phone.
Work on the cameras — OnePlus is not a company that spends a lot of dollars on marketing. It still relies on word of mouth and social media to sell its products, banking on its most loyal fans to evangelize why its phones are superior spec-, experience-, and value-wise.
My two cents: focus on making the cameras better. I've reviewed every OnePlus phone since the OnePlus 2 and the story is the same with every phone: the phones are great — excellent flagship hardware and clean Android software — but the cameras are always second-rate to iPhone, Galaxy and Pixel phones.
Viral marketing is fun and OnePlus loves to get creative on its social media, but please, please, pour more resources into improving the cameras. If the OnePlus 8 has a disappointing camera system that doesn't go head-to-head with even last year's Galaxy or iPhones, it's going to be heartbreaking.