UPDATE: The hype machine is at full throttle mere hours after Pete Lau's cryptic teaser and vague announcement of an impending "affordable smartphone product line", with a special Instagram page set up to build further excitement around the "OnePlus Lite Z Thing."
That name is obviously probably a joke, poking fun at all the speculation from the last few months, although we wouldn't put it past the company to take the humor to the next level and make that hilarious moniker official in July.
By the way, the aforementioned Instagram page already contains the first confirmed "OnePlus Lite Z Thing" tidbit, with the July launch window divulged in a Morse code message. Meanwhile, the first official sign pointing in the direction of a OnePlus Nord marketing label has been spotted (via WinFuture), so you may not have to wait long to crack that particular code.
Still, you may want to keep an eye on your Instagram feed in the next couple of weeks, as the company undoubtedly plans to gradually reveal pretty much everything there is to know about the highly anticipated mid-ranger ahead of its actual full announcement. Our original story follows below.
In keeping with tradition, OnePlus unveiled its latest high-end phone(s) a couple of months ago, but before splashing the cash on the unusually expensive 5G-enabled 8 or 8 Pro, the company's hardcore fans should know its next release will not be the presumably pricey 8T and 8T Pro in September or October.
Instead, the "never-settling" brand is preparing a "new beginning" that's been making the rumor rounds for more than six months. Initially dubbed the OnePlus 8 Lite, the company's first mid-range device since 2015's failed OnePlus X got a different name in March, which might not be the final marketing moniker either.
Unfortunately, CEO Pete Lau chose to dance around the branding topic in an official forum thread confirming the "new, more affordable smartphone product line" being cooked up as we speak. Lau didn't divulge anything of substance on the specs, features, possible launch date, or actual pricing structure of the rumored Nord by OnePlus either, although it's definitely interesting (and a little disappointing) to hear the 2013-founded company plans to "start relatively small with this new product line."
That means the 5G OnePlus Nord, aka OnePlus Z, aka OnePlus 8 Lite will be introduced first in Europe and India, which kind of makes sense. After all, those are the brand's strongest markets, and following the OnePlus 8 Pro US release fiasco, the last thing we want to see is yet another handset no one can actually buy.
Still, Pete Lau's words of reassurance regarding prospective US availability are not... very reassuring, suggesting this particular phone will never officially come to North America. Instead, you may have to wait for a different "affordable" device in the "near future."
That would be a great shame given the CEO's vague announcement seems to fit with speculation of a pretty dreamy list of features and a virtually unbeatable price point of anywhere between $300 and $400.
OnePlus is planning to bring the "premium, flagship experience" you've come to expect from the company's high-end products to this affordable new line, which might include everything from a Snapdragon 765 processor with built-in 5G support to a grand total of four rear-facing cameras, at least 8 gigs of RAM and 128 gigs of internal storage space, a large 4,000mAh battery with fast charging capabilities, and a flat 6.4-inch OLED display with a trendy hole punch and smooth 90Hz refresh rate.