UPDATE! Pete Lau has just broken cover and confirmed that "a new, more affordable smartphone product line" is incoming. The news, which was revealed on the official OnePlus blog (opens in new tab), confirms that a new OnePlus Z-style budget phone is incoming from the Chinese maker.
Lau's comments read:
"Today, I’m very excited to announce that we are bringing the premium, flagship experience that you’ve come to expect from OnePlus to a new, more affordable smartphone product line. I know this is something many of you have been wanting for a long time."
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So, while the name of the incoming phone remains under wraps, we now think it safe to say that the OnePlus Z (also known as the OnePlus Nord) is real and is going to be unveiled very soon.
Lau also notes where this new budget smartphone is going to debut first:
"As we have always done when we try something new, we are going to start relatively small with this new product line by first introducing it in Europe and India. But don’t worry, we’re also looking to bring more affordable smartphones to North America in the near future as well."
As such, it looks like Indian and European territories are going to get the phone first, with North America following shortly after.
Original story now continues...
The OnePlus Z is the phone that everyone is talking about right now. It is, so the leaks indicate, an affordable new budget phone from OnePlus that has specs that leave the other incoming cheap phone, the Google Pixel 4a, for dead.
Which is why when the CEO of OnePlus, Pete Lau, took to Twitter yesterday to post a cryptic new message with an image that showed a blue-on-black OnePlus logo, smartphone users the world over got very, very excited.
Who's ready for something new from @oneplus? 😎 #NewBeginnings pic.twitter.com/EOCiJZVrTUJune 22, 2020
The message that accompanied the blue-on-black logo, which are colours that the OnePlus Z has been rumoured to come in, read "who’s ready for something new for OnePlus?", which is the sort of communication that Lau is known for in-advance of the company releasing new phones.
Interestingly, though, Lau's tweet also included the #NewBeginnings hashtag, so there has also been talk that as part of the reveal we could see a new OnePlus TV launch for western territories. There's also been talk that we could see a new series of accessories for the OnePlus 8 range of phones.
All that said, though, the strongest leaks regarding this have definitely leaned towards a new budget OnePlus Z (also referred to as the "OnePlus Nord") smartphone. This would make sense as while the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro were very well received, they very much retailed for a higher price point than OnePlus flagships tended to.
Traditionally OnePlus phones were know for offering flagship core hardware but at a mid-tier price point, however over the past few years the Chinese maker's flagships have been adopting more and more flagship features and, as a result, their price has been climbing upwards.
Therefore, a new budget OnePlus phone would very much fill this new affordable phone gap in the maker's portfolio, and that is why a OnePlus Z launch feels right.
A OnePlus Z launch would also be brilliant news for affordable phone shoppers, who will see a strong new contender enter the field to battle the Apple iPhone SE 2020 and Google Pixel 4a, with the latter just reportedly seeing its price leak on two French online retailers (opens in new tab).
And, judging from the OnePlus Z's rumoured specs, which include a large 6.4-inch 90Hz display and triple rear camera array, as well as a Snapdragon 765G CPU and, fingers crossed, 5G connectivity, it really would be a phone to concern its affordable phone rivals.
More choice for the consumer at a budget to mid-tier price point sounds great to us here at T3, and if OnePlus can deliver a cheap device that still retains the maker's trademark style and speed, we could be looking at one of the biggest smartphone surprises of the year.