In an interview with The Verge, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has suggested that foldable smartphones are not quite ready for primetime.

Despite the fact that OnePlus has pursued its recent Concept One device, in this interview with The Vergecast, Lau confirmed that his firm has looked at foldable smartphones but was unable to see a distinct advantage in the new form factor over the more “traditional” route.

Speaking through an interpreter, Pete Lau suggested that “the significant advantage or value that’s brought that isn’t outweighed by the shortcomings or the disadvantages of the current state of the technology.”

Foldable is actually an example of something that we have looked into but not pursued. That’s because, in looking into the application of what’s currently available for foldable screen technology, we haven’t found that the significant advantage or value that’s brought that isn’t outweighed by the shortcomings or the disadvantages of the current state of the technology.

The biggest shortcoming according to Lau is the fold crease — which is the issue many have complained about regarding foldable phones. He suggested that OnePlus will only look to implement folding tech into a OnePlus foldable smartphone once the display crease is eliminated.

If you look at the fold and the current foldable technology devices, it’s very large and not very clean or a very crisp fold. That also currently results in a lot of screen creasing or issues with where the fold is in the screen. This isn’t something that I can accept in products that are built. Only when the technology is able to get to the level where that folds can be really crisp and not impact the screen at where the fold happens is when it could be potentially usable or potentially applicable.

Just to showcase that the Motorola fold is different in that it’s from, I guess, top to bottom versus left to right. But what Pete’s saying is that the fold is still not a clean crease to the degree that he would want in a product that he would make. Even though their application is slightly different, it’s still facing that same challenge for the actual fold part, including the screen material itself. Because it’s a plastic material, its ability to have the scratch resistance of glass just isn’t there yet, either.

This definitely fits with the OnePlus ‘Never Settle’ ethos, and aligns with previous comments made when discussing a foldable OnePlus device. Given that folding smartphones haven’t had the best of starts, it would be a safe bet for OnePlus to allow the tech to mature before attempting their own iteration.

With the OEM backing high refresh rates and tackling the “premium” market head-on, as well as a growing Smart TV line, a foldable might be the last thing to enter the burgeoning OnePlus ecosystem.

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Damien Wilde

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