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Phone with Disappearing Camera : One Plus Concept One


2014. One Plus One. I could still remember scouring the internet for invites to buy that smartphone. One Plus made a mark in the beginning making a name for itself. Not only for offering low cost smartphone at that time, One Plus had a different approach towards its design philosophy. Sandstone Black with Cyanogen ROM in-built, One Plus made some interesting choices from the beginning.

I had such high expectations from One Plus, I was not impressed by its releases after that. At least in my opinion, One Plus might have stopped innovating. But recent years has been quite interesting from the release of One Plus 6 with its matte glass finish or One Plus 7T Pro with its pop up camera and damn impressive high refresh rate displays. It seems One Plus has no intention of stopping to innovate.

One Plus unveiled its “Concept One” concept over at CES. I had the opportunity to experience it hands on and interact with fellow One Plus community and here are my thoughts about it.

Number of camera’s at the back of our smartphone is increasing, to be frank, its getting uglier too. And that’s where One Plus’s disappearing cameras come into play. A unique blend of art and technology. One Plus has used electrochromic glass to change the opacity of the back glass.

Electrochromic glasses has two EC layers which in this case is Indium Tin Oxide and one electrolytic layer. When passing voltage, the properties of the glass can be changed which in this case, reflectance and make the glass opaque.

The technology has been used for a long time in smart glasses and in aircrafts like Boeing 787’s.What’s impressive is that One Plus has shrunk the technology to make it fit into a smartphone. It’s electrochromic layer is just 0.05mm in thickness. And its not a easy feat to achieve. One Plus claims its electrochromic glass is the fastest and the most transparent Electro Chromic glass.

Beyond the aesthetics, it has some cool functionality too. It’s camera has a new feature called “ND Filter” and what ND filter does is that it can control the amount of light that enters into the sensor without actually changing the aperture of the lens. With image processing, One Plus could do some interesting tricks on its camera. Like the ND filter in the Pro mode takes photos with a cool shade to it on a sunny day. Sometimes smartphone cameras tend to over expose the images when you point it towards direct sunlight and this ND filter might be the answer to this problem. The community had some interesting thoughts too, can this technology used the change the color of back glass ? Well, there seems to be some interesting applications to the technology right ?

The disappearing camera’s are cool. Yes. But I feel that the leather back design is under rated. The orange leather design is gorgeous. And if it comes to smartphone beauty contest, Concept One is the clear winner here. And its not easy feat too guys, One Plus claims the leather has been stitched on top a skin which is placed above the glass layer.

As impressive as it may be, Concept One is still a concept smartphone and its not coming for sale any time soon. The technology is not all perfect. The glass does add a blue tint to the images, and it also changes color temperature of back glass. One Plus is quite skeptical about introducing the feature in its upcoming smartphones. Sometimes, interesting concepts like this never make it into the market, but I hope that’s not the case with this. One Plus community cannot wait to see Concept One into the market. But there are some factors to consider before it can be introduced to main stream market.

There are interesting applications to this technology and One Plus is listening for feedback from its fellow community. If you are having any interesting application to EC back glass, comment to this post and I would make sure it reaches One Plus’s ears.

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