Mobile World Congress kicks off next week and we’re starting to see companies preview all the fun that is to come, including a concept phone from OnePlus. A recent teaser post suggests that the new prototype will feature “icy blue pipelines which run through the entire back of the phone — almost making it look like the OnePlus 11 Concept has its own series of blood vessels.” That’s certainly one way to describe the industrial design of a smartphone, and I’m intrigued.
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OnePlus says that the pipelines are layered under “a bold and futuristic unibody glass design inspired by the calm stillness and vast power of a glacial lake,” which, if we know anything about glacial lakes, suggests that the backing might have a transparent element to it.
This isn’t the company’s first time unveiling forward-looking devices to the public; it did just that three years ago at CES, demoing its Concept One prototype that used electrochromic glass to hide its camera lenses. Like most concept products, that design never saw the light of day.
The same outcome can be expected with the new OnePlus 11 Concept, which the company says will be unveiled next week on February 27 in Barcelona.
While concept phones give us a glimpse into the future of technology, they’re never readily available. However, I have reasons to believe that what’s being demoed this time around may just appear in more smartphones, particularly from OnePlus, in the coming years.
Based on the teaser blog and assets, the icy blue pipelines likely serve two purposes: cooling the internals of the phone, while giving it a glow-in-the-dark effect. The former is the more educated (and practical) guess of the two because of how the pipelines are laid out across the back of the concept device — and OnePlus’ overdramatization of what a phone looks like when you push it to the limits (see video). The design is akin to liquid cooling tubes that gaming desktops typically have for quiet and more effective heat dissipation.
Considering OnePlus’ focus on graphics performance and fast charging, as demonstrated by the recent OnePlus 11, I wouldn’t be surprised if the company is thinking of new ways to keep its phones operating smoothly.
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The second purpose of the pipelines reminds me of last year’s Nothing Phone 1 which, as a refresher, had glowing LEDs attached to the back of the phone that would light up whenever there was a notification. While OnePlus’ glowing design looks less intricate than Nothing’s 900-LED assembly, there’s a possibility that it will have a similar pulsating effect as it and the OnePlus 8T Concept from 2020, beaming in unison when you receive a text message, phone call, or app alert.