OnePlus has made a name for itself with flagship smartphones that cost significantly less than those of manufacturers like Samsung and other larger players. Although OnePlus prices have also risen over time, it has maintained that distinction and could work at the same level as devices much more expensive than it. The only area that has fallen terribly short has always been in the camera department, something CEO Pete Lau promises will improve this year.
The company always speaks positively about the cameras on each of its phones, but user ratings and comments don’t always agree. To be clear, it is not that OnePlus phones produce terrible photos and videos, just that they are not able to compete with Huawei, Samsung or even Xiaomi today. That’s even when OnePlus uses almost the same hardware as other smartphone vendors.
Pete Lau used the Chinese social networking platform Weibo to make a public commitment to the company’s focus on photography this year. He says the company invests heavily in camera R&D and aims to become number one in phone imaging. Given where it is coming from and how it will need to beat Apple, Samsung, Huawei and even Xiaomi and OPPO in this area, this is an overly ambitious goal.
Part of its strategy involves partnering with Leica, or so the rumors say. Lau did not comment on this, but it would not be the first time the camera manufacturer has partnered with a smartphone supplier. Huawei has been its longtime partner, but things may have changed in recent months after Huawei’s sanctions in the United States.
The OnePlus 9, which is due to launch in a month or two, may be the first to benefit from the company’s new focus on imaging technology. The OnePlus 9 Pro, in particular, may be the only one that receives Leica cameras, along with other cutting-edge features. These are, of course, just words and the real tests are yet to come.