OnePlus has announced an official launch date for its upcoming phones: the OnePlus 9 series will be officially announced on March 23 at 10 a.m.ET. It also confirms a partnership with Swedish camera maker Hasselblad to improve the devices’ camera systems – something that has been disclosed and discussed previously.
Rumors so far have been about the announcement of a OnePlus 9 Pro with a 1440p 120Hz curved display, 45W fast charging, and reverse wireless charging. OnePlus’ reference to the ‘serial’ product launch seems to confirm that more than one device will debut later this month. There is also the confirmation of 5G, which is not surprising in this year of our lord 2021.
As for the Hasselblad partnership, the details are not very promising. The two companies have entered into a three-year agreement to “co-develop the next generation of smartphone camera systems for future OnePlus flagship devices.” This includes the upcoming 9-series devices. For starters, the companies say they’ve tweaked the color reproduction of the cameras to look more natural.
The 9 Series will also use a new Sony IMX789 sensor and offer 12-bit RAW image capture, which the Samsung S21 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max also include. It’s a good step forward in capturing and keeping this large amount of data, and it’s useful for post-processing.
But a standard RAW file – even a 12-bit file – still lacks the benefits of computational photography that you’ll enjoy taking a normal JPEG image with the native camera app. It would be even better to offer something like Apple’s ProRAW, which combines the advantages of these computational techniques and capturing RAW images. It doesn’t appear to be what OnePlus is describing here, but we’ve asked and will update this story accordingly.
It is fair to treat this Hasselblad partnership with some skepticism. OnePlus is far from the first smartphone maker to partner with an older camera brand, and the results of previous partnerships aren’t that high. This isn’t even Hasselblad’s first partnership with a phone maker. The company had previously lent its name to a MotoMod that was more or less just a disappointingly compact camera. In this case, at least, the results of this joint venture will go into the phone itself – not something attached to it.