OnePlus Concept One smartwatch is a high-quality EDC fitted into a sleek wearable design

This watch conceptualized by Michael Szczególski of 2sympleks Design draws inspiration from the OnePlus Concept One phone that has an electrochromic glass (based on electronic CMF technology) for the camera module glass covering.

OnePlus forayed into the smartwatch market in the early half of this year, but it wasn’t popular amongst tech enthusiasts, given the other smartwatches in the market that offer more. The Never Settle endeavor of the brand seemed to be missing in their first smartwatch, and I’m hoping the table is turned in their next release. This OnePlus Concept One Watch could be the right direction for the brand to foray, if they want to dethrone the best ones like Apple Watch Series 6, Galaxy Watch 3, or Fitbit Sense.

While on first look it might seem like any other smartwatch, there’s one thing that makes it stand out from the crowd. When the camera app is activated, the glass magically turns transparent to reveal the sensors otherwise hidden from plain sight. The Concept One Watch employs this technology to blur the lines between a classic analog watch with kinetic movement and modern-day smartwatch functionality. The Android WearOS watch is a perfect hybrid capable of satisfying proponents of classic watches and ones who like the more modern approach of the connected ecosystem of smartwatches.

This is possible with the electrochromic touchscreen which is completely transparent, revealing the classic watch dial. At the touch of a button with the underlying fingerprint sensor, the watch’s smart functions are triggered. You can control the music, keep track of physical activity, read text messages or make voice calls.

When not required, you can revert back to the completely transparent glass screen mode, revealing the beautiful kinetic watch movement of the hour and seconds hands. You’ll still be able to be notified of important texts or calls, that’ll be indicated by small notifications that in no way intrude on the beautiful watch dial.

The watch’s OnePlus Concept One phone influence is evident in the cool orange strap, accompanying accessories like the charging cable, and packaging. Would I want to sport one on my wrist? Absolutely yes. I hope OnePlus is watching this!

Designer: Michael Szczególski of 2sympleks Design

Carl Pei’s Nothing debuts its first product – a pair of TWS earbuds with a ‘zero-secrets’ transparent design

There was a time when you could take a screwdriver and practically fix anything. A radio, a telephone, a washing machine, all you’d need was a simple tool to help you inspect, replace, and repair parts and your product was good as new, but that isn’t the case today. Try venturing a guess on what’s really inside your smartphone, or how your TWS earbuds work, and the regular consumer will probably draw a massive blank. We take these complex products for granted because they do their job without a fuss, but without even really knowing how beautifully complicated they are on the inside. Nothing, former OnePlus founder Carl Pei’s latest venture, is lifting the veil on products with its brand of minimalist ‘nothingness’. The ear (1) marks Nothing’s debut in the product space and comes with a rather alluring transparent design. The earphones sport a transparent housing that lets you really appreciate the design and detail gone into the product’s inner assemblies, and a transparent case accentuates the brand’s ethos… of being a breath of fresh air in a saturated tech space that’s all about making black and white boxes.

Partnering with Teenage Engineering over the design of the ear (1), Nothing highlights the fact that the design’s beauty lies in ints inherent rawness. “Nothing like you’ve seen before, the raw beauty of ear (1)’s stripped-down aesthetic features transparency to expose the engineering, including microphones, magnets, and circuit board. Everything that is ear (1) is there with purpose”, the brand mentions in a press release.

The earphones boast a massive 11.6mm audio driver, tuned to perfection by the folks at Teenage Engineering, who have established themselves as one of the leading audio-tech brands of our time. The audiophiles at Teenage Engineering painstakingly dialed in the software and hardware for balanced bass, mid, and treble performance, and equipped the TWS earbuds with Bluetooth 5.2 for incredible connectivity.

The earbuds sit rather tightly in your ear thanks to liquid silicone ear-tips, and are even equipped with ANC – a feature that’s definitely worth praise given the TWS earbuds’ $99 price tag. The ANC can be controlled with different modes – like a Light mode for moderate cancelation in a relatively noise-free setting, and a Maximum mode for much noisier environments like in the outdoors, or in public transport. A Transparency mode lets you easily listen to the world around you when you’re walking down roads or you need to pay attention to your surroundings, and the ear (1)’s built-in Clear Voice Technology dramatically reduces distractive background noise, like the wind.

Yet another noteworthy feature is the earbud’s battery life – a cumulative 34 hours, along with the charging case. I’ll admit, there’s definitely an allure to being able to see the earbuds inside their case – it’s almost like a work of art… and you’ve got to admire the way every single element in the earphones is visible, including the magnets that cause the buds to align inside the case. The transparency does trigger a human response to think that the earbuds are fragile, but Nothing ensures that they’re built to a world-class standard. They come sweat and water-resistant, and each earbud weighs a stunningly low 4.7 grams. The case charges wirelessly too, and is Qi-compatible.

The launch of Nothing’s ear (1) quite mirrors how OnePlus established itself as a brand. When OnePlus launched its first phone, it capitalized on crowd fanfare brought about by an alluring design, an extremely competitive price, and a highly limited edition drop that had the crowd begging for more. Nothing seems to be employing a similar strategy too, given its rather eye-catching transparent design and transparently low price. The TWS earbuds will also be available via limited drops on their website Open sales will begin on 17 August 2021 across 45 countries and regions, including the UK, USA, and Canada.

Designer: Teenage Engineering and Nothing

Oneplus’ $15 wireless Gaming Triggers turn your Android smartphone into a Nintendo Switch

Good News: They work with Android as well as iOS devices. Bad News: They’re currently only being sold in India.

The Gaming Triggers from OnePlus dropped randomly out of the blue when company CEO Pete Lau tweeted about them. According to Lau, they’re solid, responsive, and pleasingly clicky – and they’re built to work with any smartphone (regardless of their make), because “the best product design is one that leaves you free to make your own choices.”

The Gaming Triggers work like an extra set of fingers. Hit the trigger and a plunger taps a part of your screen. Designed to sit on the upper edge of your smartphone as you game in landscape mode, the triggers are specifically targeted towards players of Battle Royale-style multiplayer mobile games including PUBG, Call of Duty, Free Fire, although mounting and using the triggers sacrifices a small portion of screen estate as they physically cover your smartphone display.

The OnePLus Gaming Triggers’ price point is exceedingly low for most gaming hardware (even mobile ones), although that’s purely because they’re completely analog and have no electronics on the inside (instead, they have capacitive pads that tap on your screen when triggered). This also makes them compatible with any touchscreen device including your Android smartphone, iPhone, and even your iPad, as long as the device in question is under 11.5mm in thickness (case included).

The triggers can be independently placed on any side of the phone, and they come with a bilaterally symmetric design. Depending on your on-screen buttons, you can distribute them on the left or right, or use them both on one side of the phone. They can be used in portrait mode too, although the ergonomics of that arrangement is really up to the user.
Fun Fact: You could potentially even use them to activate your camera shutter, giving you a real, tactile camera button that’s much easier to press instead of awkwardly tapping your smartphone display with your thumb.

The tactile capacitive buttons work remarkably fast, offering zero lag as compared to wireless controls. OnePlus uses industry-leading Omron switches inside the Gaming Triggers, providing users with that reliable clicking sound and much better tactile feedback as they play. The switches themselves are made from a Zinc alloy, for that cool metallic touch, and they sit within a PolyCarbonate enclosure for that rugged, long-lasting build quality. Sadly, the triggers are only available to customers in India through the OnePlus website for a price of 1,099 rupees (a little under $15). OnePlus hasn’t really mentioned anything about global availability yet.

Designer: OnePlus

BlackBerry is still alive… And its latest smartphone will have 5G and even a physical keyboard

It seems like BlackBerry still has some fight left in it! After being unceremoniously dumped by TCL following a failed 4-year license agreement, BlackBerry partnered with OnwardMobility, a mobile security company, to work on its upcoming line of smartphones. In August last year, OnwardMobility issued a press release highlighting that they would be launching a “5G BlackBerry Android smartphone with a physical keyboard in North America and Europe.” The company even stated that they would be partnering with Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile Limited to design and manufacture these smartphones. As we gradually approach the launch of these phones, Jermaine Smit (better known as his internet alias Concept Creator) has partnered with LetsGoDigital to envision what these phones will probably look like… and let’s just say, they’re about as long as a meatball sub.

Ask any Max-sized iPhone users what an annoyance it is to reach the back button on the top-left corner of a screen and you’ll probably figure out that smartphones are already pretty big to begin with. The Blackberry Key 3 concept adds a further 1.5 inches to the smartphone’s height with a dedicated, physical, touch-sensitive keyboard. Now I don’t mean to dunk on the Key 3, the physical keyboard has always been BlackBerry’s schtick… but maybe a slide-out keyboard would work better for a smartphone in today’s world. That aside, the Key 3 looks rather impressive.

The BlackBerry Key 3 concept comes with a profile that’s reminiscent of the Note 20 Ultra. It features a flat surface on the top and bottom, while cascading edges on the sides result in a phone that’s comfortable to hold, along with a waterfall display, there may be a chance of the phone registering accidental palm touches. The camera setup on the back features 3 lenses and a flash, looking quite similar to the one found on the OnePlus 8, and sitting right beneath that is the familiar BlackBerry logo. Flip the phone back over to the front and it kind of looks slightly meme-ish. It’s obscenely long, considering the screen’s already 20:9 to begin with. Adding to that is a slight forehead bezel (which features a single front-facing camera) and a massive chin, which houses a full QWERTY keyboard. The QWERTY keyboard, from what I can tell, is a part of the display, but it’s always there… even when you don’t need it. Sort of like the soft keys often found on Android phones, the keyboard is static in its position, and can easily be used when you need to type. This ideally means a keyboard never blocks or overlaps elements on the screen, so you’re always treated to a full-screen interface all the time. I’m not entirely sure if the keyboard’s layout is dynamic, i.e., whether it changes to reveal emojis or other languages, but if I were a betting man, that would honestly be a pretty remarkable feature. I could even imagine having app-specific controls, like playback controls for YouTube and Netflix, or gaming controls while you play games (reminds me of the LG Wing if I’m being honest). There are a few undeniable perks to owning a BlackBerry phone, and I’d say the Key 3’s no different. Aside from the keyboard, BlackBerry phones are known to have a much higher security standard than your regular Android or iOS device. If you can somehow look past the length of this phone, the Key 3 could actually be a compelling device to a certain subset of people. Besides, look to the base and you’ll even notice a 3.5mm headphone jack!!

Designer: Concept Creator (Jermain Smit) for LetsGoDigital

A closer look at the camera module, which looks heavily borrowed from the OnePlus 8. There’s no reason to believe that the original BlackBerry phone will sport the same camera module, so we can write this one off as Concept Creator’s own personal touch. That being said, if the BlackBerry did have a camera that was as good as the OnePlus 8, it would still be leaps and bounds ahead of what they’ve currently got.

From the looks of it, the phone sports a brushed metal back, which would probably mean no wireless charging. There is, however, a Type-C port on the base… and I may be sounding like a broken record here, but I’m still pretty impressed by the fact that flagship phones in 2021 can still have 3.5mm jacks!

There’s no indication of what this concept’s dimensions are, although it’s worth remembering that the BlackBerry Key 3 is just a fan-made concept phone. OnwardMobility announced that BlackBerry would launch its 2021 smartphone sometime in the first half of the year, so if things are still going according to schedule, the phone should ideally be announced in the next 2 months or so!

Image Credits – LetsGoDigital

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