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Android Central
Andrew Myrick

OnePlus has a rare opportunity with the Open 2

Pizza Boy A Basic on OnePlus Open.
Beyond the Alphabet
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Beyond the Alphabet is a weekly column that focuses on the tech world both inside and out of the confines of Mountain View.

It probably got lost in the wave of AI announcements during Google I/O, but a report also came out regarding the next OnePlus Open. Unfortunately, those who were hoping for OnePlus to release a Galaxy Z Fold 6 competitor this year may be disappointed. But I don't think that's a bad thing, so let's talk about why.

Before getting in the weeds, the reason for the lack of a OnePlus Open 2 in 2024 is simple — OPPO reportedly isn't going to release a Find N5 this year. On X, @That_Kartikey stated, "Oppo will not release the Oppo Find N5 Series this year thus no OnePlus Open 2 as well!" In a reply, @chunvn8888 followed up, stating that it's "scheduled for next year instead, uses 8 Gen 4."

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Nothing is confirmed, as neither company has revealed its next foldable plans, so for now, we should take this with a grain of salt. However, as someone who has a deep affinity for my OnePlus Open, I have to admit that I was bummed to see this. I was hopeful that a OnePlus Open 2 would be released this year, which would implement proper stylus support, along with updated cameras. But here's the thing — there's not really anything that warrants an upgraded model right now.

My only real complaint about the OnePlus Open is the hoops I had to jump through just to get a stylus. Since then, it's been pretty smooth sailing. OnePlus even partnered with Google so you can get the Android 15 Beta on the Open, along with the OnePlus 12.

The Open isn't perfect; no smartphone is. But for foldable phones, it's about as close as it gets. This idea of switching to a two-year release cycle is something that would be beneficial for the market, as there's definitely a bit of fatigue in the space. It's even the case with foldable phones, considering that Samsung has been content with re-packaging the Galaxy Z Fold 2 design for the past few years. Of course, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is rumored to buck that trend, but I won't hold my breath.

(Image credit: SmartPrix/ via OnLeaks)

Instead, moving to a bi-yearly release allows OPPO and other OEMs to put more thought into the product. This also goes for things like software and other features to help phones to stand out from the pack, instead of just recycling the same ideas and slapping on a different name.

Back in early 2023, I wrote that "Google shouldn't release the Pixel 8." This was early in the year, just a few months after the Pixel 7 launched. The premise of that article was the same as why I think the OnePlus Open 2 being delayed to 2025 isn't a bad thing. It was also coming at a point when the global smartphone market saw a decline of 17% in Q4 2022 and a decline of 11% in "full-year" shipments.

As of April 2024, a report by the IDC shows that there's a bit of a rebound taking effect, as "global smartphone shipments increased 7.8% year over year" in Q1 2024. While that might seem great on paper, the report goes on to share that Samsung, Apple, and OPPO all saw a decline in shipments YoY.

The smartphone market is rebounding, but not for Samsung, Apple, or Oppo.

I could dive into some of the nitty-gritty about performance, comparing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to the Gen 3. There's definitely a significant jump between generations, but let's be honest—are you really going to notice?

Maybe if you're heavy into emulation, but that's a niche within a niche anyway. It's not like OnePlus offers a desktop solution when you plug the Open into a monitor like Samsung DeX. So, in reality, outside of some potential camera upgrades and having a newer battery, an updated OnePlus Open doesn't really scratch any itch.

Wait a year, see what Google does with the rest of Android 15, and implement any necessary changes. Be one of the first to hit the ground running when the final version is ready, and then smooth out any kinks until the Open 2 is ready. By then, maybe Google will have progressed enough with its native Desktop Mode that it can be another selling point. Or, take what Google is already doing and turn it into a true DeX competitor.

We don't need a OnePlus Open 2 in 2024 if it's just going to be iterative.

That's what I hope OPPO/OnePlus will do.

Unfortunately, there's still a path where we don't see any significant upgrades. Instead, we could end up with what may essentially be a OnePlus Open 1.5 in 2025, resulting in the same feeling that we already get with slab phones and tablets. Or maybe OnePlus will still release the Open 2 later this year and opt for another iterative release instead of building on the momentum.

I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that Oppo doesn't get complacent, as it really has a good thing going with the Open.

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