There is a lot on smartphone maker OnePlus’ plate for the year ahead, starting with the launch of the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G smartphone in India in the coming weeks. The company has also talked about an affordable 5G phone for markets, Internet of Things (IoT) products, new features including the HyperBoost Gaming Engine, as well as the 150-watt charger for phones.
When asked about how OnePlus will manage a phone line-up that’s the widest it has ever been and growing still, Pete Lau, who wears the hats of chief product officer at OPPO and founder of OnePlus, told Hindustan Times that the company is looking closely at the portfolio.
“We are focused on streamlining the products. We always believe that we should not cause anxiety for our customers when they’re trying to select any products from us. Right now, we do have more products but that is in order to cater to more consumer segments. In the past, our products were only catering to a niche segment,” Lau told HT, via a translator.
At this time, OnePlus has 8 phone models on sale in India, with multiple configuration options for each. This is before the OnePlus 10 Pro 5G launch, which will become the ninth phone in the line-up. He added, “Within OnePlus, we always believe that with products, the less the better.”
Does this mean delays in software updates, because resources are stretched? The flagship OnePlus 9 Pro phones last received the Android January security patch, while some phones including the affordable Nord series have since begun receiving the newer February patch. This may cause some concern among users, particularly ones who have spent on or are looking to buy the flagship phones.
When pressed if an expanding product line-up means there could be delays in software updates for certain phones, Lau says processes will be improved. “As we are expanding our product lineup, we will also continue to think about how we can maximise our R&D resources to improve the adaptability of the software so that it will be used in a more streamlined way,” he said.
Pete Lau has confirmed that the OnePlus 10 Pro will go on sale in India as well as North America and Europe before the end of March. “OnePlus’ emphasis on its key markets – India, the United States, Europe, and China – remains as strong as ever,” he said. OnePlus says they shipped 11 million smartphones globally in 2021. The Nord phone series, which debuted in July 2020, has since clocked 10 million shipments.
The company will also debut a new retail model in India this year, which will allow consumers to order a phone online, with an immediate pick-up option at one of the physical stores. These orders will be eligible for services such as having the product set up, post-purchase. “This will not only allow customers in India to get OnePlus devices faster, but we are confident it will increase the satisfaction for OnePlus products across the board,” says Lau.
The company is refining a new and faster phone charging technology, which will debut with a OnePlus phone in Q2 2022. The charging tech is called 150W SuperVOOC and has been developed by the Oppo Research Institute. This will make it the fastest smartphone charging tech at the time, a mantle presently held by Xiaomi’s 120-watt HyperCharge tech.
Lau says that the benefits of the Smart Battery Health Algorithm, developed in-house, will improve the longevity of battery packs that regularly handle fast charging – the estimates indicate a 4,500mAh battery’s capacity may be retained as much as 80% even after 1,600 charge cycles.
When OnePlus and Oppo announced the consolidation of the software codebase last year, there was the expectation that OxygenOS (this is the software for OnePlus phones) and ColorOS (this runs on Oppo phones), will be merged into one operating system (OS). That will not happen. “OxygenOS and ColorOS will remain independent brand properties,” confirmed Lau. This means OxygenOS 13, the update that will roll out later this year, will likely not invoke wholesale changes to the user experience.
He indicates that this is because of the user feedback. “This new course was taken in accordance with feedback from our community – we understand users of OxygenOS and ColorOS want each operating system to remain separate from each other with their own distinct properties,” he said. OxygenOS on OnePlus phones is a comparatively cleaner software, leaning towards the clean Android experience. Oppo’s ColorOS takes a busier approach to customizations, in sharp contrast.
Gamers should probably keep their eyes on this one – a new feature called HyperBoost Gaming Engine will debut with the OnePlus 10 Pro. This will include controls such as GPA Frame Stabilizer, O-Sync, and GPU Load Control (GLC). “GPA Frame Stabilizer monitors device performance in real time and leverages AI computing models to precisely adjust CPU and GPU resources when frame rate drops are anticipated,” confirmed the company.
The O-Sync option will reduce touch response times by up to 30 milliseconds while GLC will reduce power consumption during gaming, by as much as 36%. Whether HyperBoost Gaming Engine is made available for other OnePlus phones, including the OnePlus 9 series, will become clear in the coming weeks.