OnePlus is reportedly planning to launch a foldable phone, but it won’t exactly embody the “Never Settle” approach that the company is known for. As per a report from PriceBaba that cites reliable OnePlus leaker Yogesh Brar, the first foldable phone from the Chinese company won’t actually be a new product. Instead, it will be a rebadged Oppo Find N, a phone that is yet to make its way out of China.
Now, the strategy might sound lazy, but it’s actually a smart business move from an OEM’s perspective. OnePlus phones have a history of taking a generous dose of inspiration from Oppo phones in the past. And now that the two brand’s supply chains are more tightly knit than ever, and even the codebase of their respective Android skins has been merged, selling Oppo hardware with a OnePlus logo splashed across it doesn’t sound too far-fetched.
It just might work. The Oppo Find N, despite being an excellent foldable phone, was limited by its software. As is the case with other Android skins in China, the flavor of Color OS running on the phone lacked native access to Google Play and its essential services such as the Play Store, Gmail, and Google Maps among others. Such an Android experience is mainstream in China but just won’t work in other markets.
Just take a look at Huawei’s dwindling smartphone fortunes after it was banned from offering Google services on its phones owing to trade restrictions. Yes, Oppo could have changed things on the software side and launched the Find N in other markets with access to Google services, just the way it does with other phones. However, it chose not to launch the Find N in other markets for some reason.
But it looks like OnePlus will address the market availability concerns of the Oppo Find N by launching it as its very own first foldable phone, and possibly changing things on the software side by bringing in OxygenOS to replace the ColorOS skin. OxygenOS has won a loyal base and might further polish Oppo Find N’s software experience. ColorOS, on the other hand, has often been lambasted for its gaudy aesthetics, ads, and bloatware in western markets, even though things have actually improved lately.
An Oppo Find N with a OnePlus logo on top and Oxygen OS handling the software department sounds like an attractive foldable phone formula. And even though the phone was launched last year, the hardware is still neck and neck with what the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 has to offer. In fact, the Oppo Find N crams all that raw firepower and capable imaging hardware into a body that is refreshingly compact and practical. By that proxy, OnePlus is trying to introduce a fresh take on foldable phones to the world.
Even though it is rebadged hardware, to the smartphone enthusiasts outside of China, it would still be a new device and the first foldable phone from OnePlus. And given the positive impression the Find N has left on the lucky few in the west who had a chance to test it, OnePlus just might get away with a lazy business tactic that will offer a rewarding experience to users. After all, isn’t that the Holy Grail that every smartphone maker chases after? A word of advice though — process all this information just the way a rumor is supposed to be internalized. And that means keeping spoonfuls of skepticism handy!
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