We’ve known for a while that OnePlus plans to be one of the first smartphone makers in the world to launch a 5G phone this year. That device won’t be the OnePlus 7, reports said last year, but a third handset that should be launched at some point in the first half of 2019. OnePlus just reconfirmed its commitment to launch a 5G phone next year, but that phone will be pricier than what you expect from OnePlus flagship handsets. The company’s CEO went on record to say that he’s working on keeping the price under $1,000.
All OnePlus phones to date have been significantly cheaper than what the competition had to offer, and things aren’t likely to change soon, at least when it comes to 4G-only devices. OnePlus kept increasing the entry price over the years, as smartphones became more sophisticated and more expensive to make. But the OnePlus 6T is still a lot cheaper than the newest iPhones, Galaxy, or Pixel devices.
In an interview with Engadget CEO Pete Lau said he’s aiming for a $200 to $300 price increase for the 5G handset, compared to recent OnePlus phones. The 5G phone would cost between $750 and $850 when it launches next year, which would be cheaper than rivals.
OnePlus did not specify an actual price for the handset, but this comment indicates that all 5G phones next year will be pricier than their 4G counterparts. Many Android flagships will have Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 platform inside next year, with the 5G models also featuring the new 5G modem and antennas that Qualcomm unveiled earlier this week. All these 5G components are likely to increase the bill of materials, at least in the first year of 5G availability.
Lau also revealed that the company is working on “getting the product right and focusing on our users.” The 5G phone should feature a design as sleek as other OnePlus phones and pack smarter features.
“You should be able to feel that you can use [your phone] in a traditional sense, less,” Lau said. “The device should be capable of doing more things for you their behalf without needing to necessarily interact with it.”
A faster 5G data connection paired with new artificial intelligence and machine learning features that will be possible thanks to the Snapdragon 855 platform should help with that. The exec said that his company would focus more on AI in the future.
The CEO also said that the first OnePlus 5G phone would be unveiled around the next Mobile World Congress, which takes place in late February in Barcelona, Spain, without committing to an actual launch date.