Home / Gaming / A OnePlus Foldable Phone Could Be A Unique Gaming Console – Forbes

A OnePlus Foldable Phone Could Be A Unique Gaming Console – Forbes

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau doesn’t think foldable phone technology – specifically the display tech – is at an advanced enough stage for the Chinese company to make one. 

The issue revolves around the lack of scratch protection a plastic display has, which may be exacerbated by the fact that the screen constantly folds and creases. Speaking to The Verge he also appeared to be unconvinced by Samsung’s foldable effort.

“If you look at the fold and the current foldable technology devices, it’s very large and not very clean or a very crisp fold. That also currently results in a lot of screen creasing or issues with where the fold is in the screen. This isn’t something that I can accept in products that are built.”

In Lau’s eyes the current state of the technology isn’t up to OnePlus’ exacting standards. But if it was, what would a OnePlus foldable phone look like? 

OnePlus’ phones stand out for two reasons: performance and price. Whether it’s the 7T’s 90Hz refresh rate (the OnePlus 8’s 120Hz display also looks insane) or the huge 8GB of RAM also in the 7T – OnePlus’ recent phones are wildly overpowered for what most smartphone users need on a day-to-day level. 

Except, of course, if you want to do some serious gaming. At the 7T’s launch the company talked up the phone’s gaming credentials and even its partnership with PUBG. Up against near-impossible to beat cameras in Google, Samsung and Apple devices – clearly the Chinese company thinks it can carve out a niche in high-end mobile gaming. 

Then there’s the price: the company has steadfastly priced itself below the bigger players in the smartphone world since its very first phone. Affordability is core to the OnePlus brand identity.  

A high-performance, gaming-focused, low-cost foldable phone would dramatically shake up the foldable market. It would also solve two big issues foldable phones have to overcome: a reason to exist and their high cost. 

A phone that can transform into a bigger phone isn’t necessarily the most compelling sell. But a phone that folds out into a bigger, 120Hz, gaming screen? That I can get on board with. Undoubtedly the OnePlus 7T’s gaming abilities are hampered by the small display – so if it could mutate into a Switch-sized device – or bigger – that would seriously improve the experience. Throw in a Bluetooth clip-on case that has physical buttons and you have a genuine handheld console. 

This is a good reason to exist because there’s a clear purpose for the device. The trickier part is price. A high-end smartphone – that’s credibly a smartphone and not some bulky hybrid nightmare – that also transforms into a portable gaming tablet won’t be cheap. Even OnePlus, which has an unusual ability to keep costs down, probably couldn’t undercut the competition with such a device – which is probably why the Chinese company isn’t exploring foldable phones right now. 

With that said the prices of foldable phones are already coming down – even though there are only three devices on the market. And it could go down further after Samsung’s Flip launches next month. The time-old trend of material and manufacturing costs for new technology dropping means OnePlus could make this work at some point. Also there are other ways to offer good value without dropping the headline price, including; limited-time subscriptions for game streaming services, OnePlus voucher codes for select games and bundling free accessories with the device.

Design-wise a clamshell-style phone – that folds out into an 8-inch phone – would work well for this mythical device. The compact nature of clamshell phones (they collapse into half their extended size) means this could be a regular phone that you can carry around that easily turns into a decent-sized gaming device when extended. 

Based on what makes OnePlus’ phones unique and what the Chinese company does well, this is the path I can see it taking. If OnePlus does decide to enter the foldable phone market: a reasonably priced gaming phone might be a winner. 

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