Update 11:37 Dec 19th: OnePlus has shared a blog post with a bit more information. This article has been updated to reflect that.
OnePlus is starting the hype train early this year as it plans the OnePlus 11 and OnePlus buds Pro 2 event for 2023.
The company has shared its plans to hold an event in New Dehli, India called Cloud 11, where it plans to “elevate the user experience from Cloud 9 to Cloud 11.” It sounds like classy stuff, and we’re set to see the OnePlus 11 flagship and the successor to the OnePlus Buds Pro, aptly called OnePlus Buds Pro 2.
The stylized image of the OnePlus 11 sent alongside the event announcement confirms earlier renders, which suggested OnePlus would go for a more outrageous camera bump this year.
While the Hasselblad logo from the renders seems to be missing in the photo OnePlus shared today, a blog post confirmed the Swedish camera company’s involvement, confirming this is the next top-end flagship phone from OnePlus meant to replace 2022’s OnePlus 10 Pro.
It’s also worth pointing out that OnePlus has confirmed the resurgence of the alert slider on the OnePlus 11, hopefully bringing back fans who may have been off-put by the OnePlus 10T. We reviewed the 10T favourably for its no-frills design, fair price and fast charging, but others were upset that OnePlus’ signature slider was gone.
The most significant change is that OnePlus is dropping the ‘Pro’ from the new phone’s name. Combining this with the fact that the company recently promised that its top phones from 2023 would receive four years of Android updates and five years of security patches, it paints a bigger picture.
OnePlus cited people using phones for longer as the main reason for its update schedule change, and the same logic applies nicely to the new name. If people are using flagship phones for 3-4 years on average, simplifying the names scheme could work well for OnePlus’s branding in the long-term.
For context, the company’s 2022 flagship, the OnePlus 10 Pro, came out at the start of the year in China and then hit the West at the end of March. In the summer, the OnePlus 10T followed with a better chipset, modem and faster-charging specs for a lower price. This wasn’t terrible branding, but in the end, it was confusing to customers which one was the best since both phones were so similar and the ‘T’ doesn’t signify a clear product hierachy.
At this point, I’d love it if OnePlus simplified things and just released one great phone per year, but if another one does come down the pipeline, it should receive the ‘Pro’ sub-name but look the same as the existing OnePlus 11. This means it can be made with very similar machines and moulds but can still offer the traditional chip upgrade and R&D improvements reserved for the ‘T’ models.
The company also received flak from the media for releasing the phone in China early. Western reviewers like MKBHD chose to review the eastern version of the phone in January and not the global version that OnePlus sent to the press in March, leading to a bad review. OnePlus seems to have learned from that and is now including all markets in the initial launch this year.