OnePlus CEO Pete Lau took to OnePlus forums to talk about the design of the upcoming flagship from the company, the OnePlus 6.
According to a detailed post titled ‘Our approach to honest design’, Lau reveals that the OnePlus 6 will come with a glass back to provide users with a different experience in comparison to the previous generation of devices.
Talking about the design and the importance it holds in making the user experience good, Lau added that it requires a "thought-out rationale" and a serious approach, and that “the pursuit of this achievement can sometimes be painful.” In addition to that, the company needs to focus on minor, subtle details to refine their product, states Lau. As part of the discussion, Lau goes on to add that the company should focus on what the product should be instead of adding more elements to the product “just for the sake of hype.” That approach will help make the product more functional and allow it to “speak for itself”. That's an interesting statement coming from a company that copied Apple's notch despite user feedback and basically ripped off parent company Oppo's designs for its previous phones.
As an example of focusing on a more functional design, Lau referred to when the company was working on the design for the OnePlus 3 in its early stages. He outlined that a lot of people were demanding the new product come with a sandstone finish, something that the company shipped with the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2. The company had tested the sandstone finish on the OnePlus 3 but it found that results were less than ideal in comparison to the “overall smoothness and comfort” that metal provided. As a hardware maker, the company was testing a number of materials to explore more possibilities. He pointed out that even though the sandstone is different, the company should focus on the overall impact of the material on the product instead of being partial to something just because it is different. As with its decision to keep the notch, OnePlus doesn't appear to be too keen on listening to user feedback when it comes to design. Users did, after all, try and like the Sandstone finish.
According to Lau, a lot of people think that good industrial design produces “something that looks very different.” Instead, a good design focuses on the details, material and craftsmanship of the product. Lau also gave a little bit of insight into how he works his way from a couple of different prototype devices to the final design. He added that he carries “several prototype devices” with him. He likes to take them out and check the details of the design, focusing on how they feel in the hand or to simply put them on a table and look at the devices from a 45-degree angle. Lau added that “Rejections and suggestions for improvements often come organically, at random hours. If a prototype still feels fresh and exciting after several months, then it’s very likely that the design is just right.”
OnePlus 6 will maintain the horizon design that the company introduced with the OnePlus One, says Lau. He added that OnePlus is not the first company to use glass, but it is confident that it will stand on its own. OnePlus experimented with 70 glass prototypes before finalising on the type of glass and has added "five printed layers of Nanotech Coating" instead of three to give a "stronger sense of depth."