OnePlus CEO interview: ‘We would definitely make’ a smaller phone, but not yet

  • OnePlus CEO Pete Lau sat down for an interview where he discussed many topics surrounding the company.
  • Lau discussed OnePlus 6T sales, the OnePlus TV, and the idea of making a OnePlus smartphone that is smaller in size.
  • While Lau admits OnePlus “would definitely make a smaller one,” the time isn’t right because of how small the battery would have to be.

Pete Lau, the CEO of OnePlus, sat down for an interview with PCMag recently. During the chat, Lau (speaking through an interpreter) dished out some interesting info about the OnePlus 6T, the upcoming 5G phone, and other new OnePlus devices.

Although Lau had a lot to discuss, the primary reason for the interview was to promote the brand new OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, which made its debut today. The new version of the latest OnePlus smartphone features a ridiculous amount of RAM (10GB!), 256GB of storage, and comes with a 30W charger that gives you a day’s worth of battery power in only 20 minutes.

The McLaren Edition is much more expensive than the normal edition — $699 as compared to $549 respectively. However, OnePlus likely isn’t too concerned about that, considering the OnePlus 6T so far seems to be selling better than any device prior.

OnePlus 6T U.S. sales are going exceptionally well

According to Lau, the OnePlus 6T — helped by the company’s partnership with T-Mobile — has already sold 249 percent more than the OnePlus 6 when it comes to the United States. OnePlus sold over a million OnePlus 6 devices globally in that device’s first 30 days. However, we don’t know how many of those were sold in the U.S., so we can’t extrapolate a number for the 6T.

Some would have expected the OnePlus 6T to not do as well as the OnePlus 6, considering the former lacks a headphone jack. Lau admits removing the headphone jack was “a very painful decision” but it needed to be done to make room for more battery power (the battery in the 6T is nominally larger than the one in the 6).

Lau would love to make a smaller phone, but…

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Speaking of batteries, Lau says that battery capacity is the number one reason why we don’t see a smaller OnePlus smartphone. Pretty much every smartphone the company’s launched since the OnePlus 5 has been roughly the same size, with some slightly larger dimensions here and there. Lau admits, “I see a lot of demand for [smaller phones]. But looking at the industry, the technology of batteries hasn’t changed too much over all these years. If we can solve the battery problem, we would definitely make a smaller one.”

In other words, making a smaller phone would require making the battery smaller, which would, of course, make the phone not last as long on a single charge. That’s a compromise OnePlus isn’t willing to make right now.

The OnePlus 5G phone might be carrier-exclusive

Lau then moved on to talk about 5G and how OnePlus fits into the new market. According to Lau, the OnePlus 5G phone will be based on sub-6GHz frequency bands, which Lau says are easier to build.

In the U.S., you might be stuck on T-Mobile if you want to buy the OnePlus 5G phone.

“The whole industry knows that it’s easier to build for sub-6 than for millimeter wave,” he said. This means that, in the U.S., the OnePlus 5G phone will likely only work on T-Mobile, as both Verizon’s and AT&T’s 5G networks will have mmWave builds. However, a future OnePlus 5G phone could work on all carriers: “I also believe that next year we’ll find a solution for millimeter wave,” Lau said. “It’s just at the door of the 5G era; [right now] it can’t be like 4G, where you have one device that goes for all the carriers. Each carrier will have a different model.”

With 5G will come more security concerns

Although 5G will give you access to faster data and enhance your productivity and entertainment experiences, it also will create some new problems.

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With 5G, more of your data will be in the cloud which will inevitably make security and privacy issues even more of a concern than they are right now. In response to this, OnePlus is looking to partner with a security company to beef up defenses on future OnePlus phones.

“We’re looking for a partner; we want to give people a perception that if you work with this company, then you’re secure,” Lau said. Lau did not give any indications of which companies OnePlus is looking to partner with.

New camera tech could give you easy greenscreen features

The 2019 OnePlus smartphones will likely all have the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. With that chipset will come some new camera capabilities, one of which has Lau pretty excited.

Apparently, you could be able to edit the backgrounds of your photographs on your smartphone just like you would if you were standing in front of a greenscreen. The details are scarce at the moment, but Lau said, “When I get back to China, I’ll talk to [Qualcomm] to find out the details of how we could achieve that.”

The OnePlus TV is coming, but not until it’s ready

OnePlus surprised everyone earlier this year when it announced it will release a smart TV sometime in 2019. The 4K LED device will have a strong focus on smart features, likely being more like a huge smart display rather than just a regular television.

Lau reaffirmed that the TV is on the way, but was mum on more details than that. “We don’t have a launch date now,” he said. “We will not launch until we think it’s ready and perfect.”

NEXT: OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition hands-on: What should you expect?

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