OnePlus is known for its excellent smartphones at reasonable prices, and while it was the first to release an in-display fingerprint sensor in the U.S., its sights are even higher for 2019. At Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii, OnePlus said its next flagship would be the first with the Snapdragon 855, the next and best flagship processor from Qualcomm. At the event, OnePlus and U.K. carrier EE also announced that the next OnePlus flagship would be the first 5G-supported smartphone on the carrier.
Samsung has usually been first to use the latest flagship Snapdragon processor year over year, so OnePlus’ announcement breaks tradition, and it’s a big deal. The new chip is not only more powerful, but also places an emphasis on improved A.I. processing, better camera processing, and more.
At Mobile World Congress in Shanghai earlier this year, OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau said it’s thanks to the company’s relationship with Qualcomm that OnePlus is shaping up to become one of the first 5G mobile phone makers. Lau said the release will align with the first year 5G will be available in the U.S.
Carriers and chipmakers haven’t been slacking on creating hardware or testing 5G around the country, and with preliminary results showing that it’s going to be extremely fast. According to the ITU’s draft specification back in February calls for a minimum of 20Gbps downlink and 10Gbps uplink per mobile base station.
There aren’t any more details on specifications we can expect for the smartphone, though we can speculate it will likely be called the OnePlus 7. The company has a strategy in place of releasing two phones every year, one early on and then one towards the end of the year (labeled as a “T” variant). The most recent addition is the OnePlus 6T, which is the first OnePlus phone to launch on T-Mobile, along with Verizon compatibility.
OnePlus is known to offer flagship specifications at a lower price tag. The Snapdragon 845, for example, is the same chipset that powers the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Google Pixel 3 — phones that initially cost more than $720. The OnePlus 6T started at $550.
OnePlus said we can expect to see this device in January 2019, which is earlier than expected, but it means we won’t have to wait long to find out more details.