OnePlus 8T Concept is a designer phone that can change colours at will

Historically, choosing a smartphone’s colour variant has been a major decision as a user would be stuck with it for a few years. The new OnePlus 8T Concept gives us a glimpse at a future where the finish can be changed at whim.

The new concept device implements electrochromic glass (EC) on the back panel to vary its shade from a dark blue to a light silver. EC is a special type of glass whose tint changes when electricity is applied. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the company showcased a version of this at CES 2020 in January with the OnePlus Concept One — a phone whose cameras would disappear under the back panel when not needed for a more discreet look.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus tells us that this isn’t supposed to be a successor of the Concept One, but should be considered as an alternate form of the technology.

The OnePlus 8T takes that a step further by using a tinted film that contains metal oxide in glass, which when activated, varies the colour. Covering almost the entirety of the back in the shape of large abstract drops of water, it is sure to make the phone stand out. Apart from aesthetics, OnePlus has also highlighted a few use cases which can benefit from the ECMF technology.

The more common suggested scenario is using the back panel as a large notification indicator light. For instance, the back of the OnePlus 8T Concept will come alive when during an incoming call. Air gestures will allow users to accept or reject the call without even touching it.

Apart from that, it can also use a form of mmWave radar to transmit and receive electromagnetic waves to register the user’s breathing and sync the patterns to effectively make the OnePlus 8T a biofeedback device that breathes along.

The OnePlus 8T Concept is probably never going to be available for purchase, but we could see parts of it make an appearance in future products; though we wouldn’t expect to see it on the upcoming OnePlus 9. Recently, Vivo, too, showed off a similar prototype smartphone whose colours would change at the push of a button. It remains to be seen how electrochromic glass will be implemented on commercial products.

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