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OnePlus promises to launch SD 855 powered phone in early 2019, could be $300 costlier

Qualcomm might have just launched its new Snapdragon 855 chipset though OnePlus has already announced they are in the process of launching their first smartphone featuring the said processor. OnePlus, however, isn’t revealing all the details just yet but has said the phone would launch in early 2019.

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau also confirmed their upcoming phone wouldn’t be a OnePlus 7, which likely hints it’s a new flagship range they might be keen to come up with. In any case, Samsung is also in line to launch its new Galaxy S10 in spring and will also be built around the SD 855 processor. If Samsung holds on to that schedule, it means there is going to be a new SD 855 powered OnePlus phone earlier than that.

OnePlus meanwhile also announced they would be partnering with EE to launch a 5G ready phone in early 2019. No points for guessing, such a phone will be based on the new SD 855 chipset. Qualcomm too is keen to highlight how its latest SD 855 chipset is 5G ready given the chip’s compatibility with its own Snapdragon X50 modem.

Unfortunately, Lau also had a word of caution for those who might already be excited for the new phone saying the new age 5G capabilities will come for a premium. That translates to a price hike in the range of $200 – $300 per unit. The Chinese company also added they would still be pursuing with the phone citing buyer’s demand for such a handset from the company.

The price hike notwithstanding, the upcoming 5G ready OnePlus phone could still be competitive vis-a-vis the competition given that the other handsets too will see a hike in their prices. The CEO also warned opting for the world’s first SD 855 powered 5G capable phone would mean compromising on the design aspect.

Lau explained that designing a 5G phone would be a challenge given the nuances of the 5G network technology itself. For instance, there is millimeter wave 5G tech pursued by AT&T and Verizon that offers good speed but offer lower coverage. Then there also is the sub-6 spectrum in a 5G network that offers good coverage but at the cost of lower speeds. Also, it is the latter model that Lau said they would be following with the next flagship.

According to Lau, changing carriers in the manner users are able to do with the current 4G network might not be easy and a solution to that is still being worked upon. What seems evident at the moment is that it might be a few years before 5G network reaches a stage as current 4G though it will be really interesting to see what OnePlus has in store for us next year.