OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei says the company will be "one of the first" to release a 5G phone - does that mean a 5G OnePlus 7?
Qualcomm’s annual 4G/5G summit in Hong Kong has been dominated by the company’s insistence that 2019 will be the year that 5G finally makes its way into flagship phones across the board. Plenty of phone manufacturers are on board, including one that’s got us especially excited: OnePlus.
Excitement for the OnePlus 6T is already at fever pitch ahead of that phone’s New York launch next week, on 29 October, but now it looks like we already know that 2019’s OnePlus 7 will be capable of connecting to faster 5G networks.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei spoke at the Qualcomm summit, confirming that "We definitely have 5G planned for next year." Pei went on to confirm that the company "will be the first, if not one of the first partners with Qualcomm to commercially launch 5G globally" - almost confirming that 5G will be featured in the OnePlus 7 early next year.
That matches Qualcomm's own promise that the first wave of 5G Snapdragon devices would arrive in Q2 2019, and the company’s President, Cristiano Amon, told us that he expected most manufacturers to release two flagship 5G devices next year - one in the first half of the year, and one in the second.
Those other manufacturers include Sony, Motorola, LG, HMD (Nokia), Samsung, and HTC, along with Chinese-focused firms such as Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo.
It’s worth remembering that 5G is still a while off widespread availability. Tests are being carried out in a few cities worldwide, including the UK and US, but right now buying a 5G phone is still about future-proofing: you’re unlikely to actually be able to access a public 5G network until some time in 2020.
5G is clearly a serious commitment for OnePlus though. Pei said the company has been developing 5G devices since "as early as late 2016," and argued: "There's no better fit for 5G than OnePlus... whenever we have a 5G product on the market, adoption will be really quick."
You might also want to resist being an early adopter: the first few 5G phones are likely to have slightly larger form factors than current devices, thanks to the size of the new antennae. Odds are they’ll only be a few mm thicker than you’re used to, but since you won’t be able to use the 5G features at launch anyway, there’s a good argument for waiting for the OnePlus 7T - or even the 8 - to avoid compromising on size.
Meanwhile, the 6T is due to be revealed in its entirety next week. Thanks to plenty of leaks, we're expecting a pretty exciting phone, boasting a tiny triangular notch and an in-screen fingerprint sensor - though at the cost of the headphone jack.