This year’s Mobile World Congress is shaping up to be a real fiesta for unconventional form factors, and OnePlus is the latest company to join the celebration. At a panel discussion today, the company announced its intentions to launch a foldable phone in the second half of 2023. That’s about the extent of the details we have for now, though it seems like a safe assumption that the device will look a lot like one of the existing foldables on the market from Oppo — OnePlus’ parent company.
With companies like Apple and Google yet to enter the foldable market, Oppo is now on its second round of folding phones — though they’ve mostly been limited to China. The Find N was a tablet-style foldable released in 2021 with a surprisingly refined design for a first-gen product. Oppo followed it up in late 2022 with the Find N2 and Find N2 Flip. The latter is a clamshell-style device in the vein of Samsung’s Z Flip series, and it’ll be Oppo’s first foldable available in Europe when it goes on sale in just a couple of days.
None of the above has made it to the US, naturally, but with OnePlus’ established distribution channels in North America, there’s at least some hope that its upcoming foldable will be sold here. While China and Europe have their fair share of foldables from Motorola, Honor, and Oppo, in the US, it’s basically all Samsung. Other options include Motorola’s 2020-vintage Razr 5G and the Microsoft Surface Duo 2. Pretty slim pickings.
It’s hard to say which way OnePlus will go with its forthcoming device: flipping or folding. Company president Kinder Liu offered only a vague description: that it would be a “flagship phone that doesn’t settle because of its folding form, in terms of industrial design, mechanical technology, and other aspects.” However it folds, if OnePlus’ device comes to the US, it might put some sorely needed pressure on Samsung.