************ (This story is part ofCES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.
Chinese phone-makerOnePlusgenerally keeps a quiet presence at(CES), preferring instead to hold off any phone news until after the show in the spring and fall. But during a press conference at this year biggest tech show, itannouncedits first concept phone, known as theOnePlus Concept One. The Concept One features a special glass that uses an electrical current to tint the lens of the rear cameras, making them “disappear.” When the cameras aren’t in use, the glass is opaque and black. When it’s time to launch the camera, the glass turns transparent and the cameras are visible.
Though largely for aesthetics and novelty, the feature does double as aneutral-density filterfor the camera, letting you tweak a photo’s exposure. (You can turn it on and off in the Pro mode of the camera.) The idea sounds nifty enough, especially as a camera filter. The switch also works pretty quickly; It takes less than a second – 0.7 second to be exact, about the same amount of time it takes to launch the camera, according to OnePlus.
But up close, it’s a little underwhelming. Personally, I never really had an issue with seeing camera lenses. While it’s true thatAppleandGoogleraised some eyebrows last year with their obtrusive square camera bumps, it was the thickness and size of the bumps themselves that bothered people, not the visibility of the lenses.