OnePlus could be the next Android brand with foldable smartphones

Imagine if this OnePlus 10 Pro could bend.
Photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

OnePlus could be the next big Android brand with a foldable smartphone. A circulating leak from Chinese patent offices indicates that the company may already be laying the groundwork to offer an alternative to US users.

A trademark list discovered through the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) shows a company -Shenzhen Oneplus Technology- filing two patent applications for a ‘OnePlus V Flip’ and a ‘OnePlus V Fold’ , respectively. Yes, you’d be right to think they sound exactly like the corresponding Samsung versions of each device. They probably fold the same way too.

I accessed the patent via a link provided by 9to5Google, which has a screenshot of the listing on its site. twitter user Mukul Sharma initially spotted the names of the smartphones. The pre-Elon verified account notes that internal testing of at least one of the mentioned foldables has begun at OnePlus headquarters.

OnePlus foldable rumors are nothing new. They’ve been circulating more extensively since last summer, especially after OnePlus co-founder Pete Lau tweeted a look at a hinge mechanism. It was unclear at the time if this was a OnePlus device or a smartphone for its parent company, Oppo.

Oppo has a foldable smartphone circulating overseas. The Find N2 launched in December and it’s doing quite well in other markets. It’s a bit shorter than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 4, which it takes after, and has a slightly different aspect ratio. CBS says it’s a little square compared to the Z Fold 4’s relative rectangular. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Oppo attempt a similar form factor under the OnePlus name since it’s already an established brand in North America.

OnePlus also has the added benefit of being known as an affordable flagship brand. It managed to keep the OnePlus 10 Pro and 10T under $900, ultimately bringing the 10 Pro down to under $600 for similar specs packed into Samsung’s Galaxy s22 devices.

Folding phones are likely to remain expensive until they become more mainstream. Samsung’s current batch of foldables is too expensiveeven with the cheapest $1 foldable,000. It would be a great addition to the current portfolio of foldable smartphones to have something with a more accessible price point compared to Samsung’s Flip and Fold. That said, don’t expect too many discounts. N2 research starts at $1,512 for 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, nearly $300 less than the Z Folday 4.

We don’t know if it’s all official yet. OnePlus’ foldable smartphones are still just a rumor. But it’s certainly nice to think of a time when foldable smartphones won’t cost as much as a midrange laptop. Some older options like the restarted Motorola Razr are already hitting hard sales, but even that debuted at $1,500.

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